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Red and grey squirrels (or American tree rats…)

2012 March 15


gosling sign in fleet street

Red squirrel sign in Fleet Street

 Imagining Rabbits and Squirrels in the mythical English countryside

This article develops some of the ideas included in an earlier piece in the Seeing History collection. It analyses ways in which grey squirrels have been seen in English society as ‘American grey tree rats’ and as foreign invaders inimical to a mythical English way of life. The earlier article focuses more on the 1930s while this one looks to the post-war period. It discusses  the way in which myxomatosis was depicted as a foreign disease attacking English rabbits. Wild rabbits who died in their thousands became appropriated -as red squirrels had before them -as symbols of a lyrical and ordered past in the countryside.

You can download the article from Society and Animals vol 9:2 2001 pp.163 -175 by clicking here: Kean squirrels in Society and Animals

red squirrel

Sign on the Isle of Wight (Felicity Harvest)

Save ‘our’ Red Squirrel : Kill the American Grey Tree Rat. An exploration of the role of the red and grey squirrel in constructing ideas of Englishness

This earlier article focuses on ideas of Englishness and the way in which the red squirrel was incorporated symbolically into this particular notion of heritage.

 Seeing History. Public History in Britain Now,  in eds Hilda Kean,Paul Martin, Sally Morgan,pp. 51-64

Buy from: Francis Boutle

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