The Great Grisby: Two Thousand Years of Exceptional Dogs

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9780007548057: The Great Grisby: Two Thousand Years of Exceptional Dogs

‘You cannot help but fall in love with Grisby’ Jeffrey Moussiaef Masson

In this charming bestiary of exceptional dogs, Mikita Brottman reflects on the role dogs play in our world, all explored through her relationship with her dog Grisby and many other examples of the dogs of great writers and artists from literature, lore, and life.

Structured like a leisurely stroll in the park, you will meet exceptional dogs in these pages: from ‘Atma’ the name given by philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer to his succession of Standard poodles, to Frida Kahlo’s hairless Mexican dog Xolotl, to Zemire the adored Italian greyhound of Catherine the Great. We meet Picasso’s dachshund Lump; Freud’s chow Yofi; Bill Sikes’s mutt Bull’s Eye in Oliver Twist; and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s spaniel Flush, whose biography was penned by Virginia Woolf. There are royal dogs, such as Prince Albert’s greyhound Eos, and dogs cherished by authors, like Thomas Hardy’s fox terrier, Wessex; and many many more.

As Brottman ruminates on her relationship with Grisby, she draws support and inspiration from history, art, philosophy and literature. Although the book ranges over different times and places, it reveals that exceptional dogs often share character traits, the most common of which is miraculous loyalty. It also shows how much dogs have to teach us about empathy, happiness, love and what it means to be human. Through quirky anecdotes and personal reflections, with side-trips into psychoanalysis and animal studies, this wonderful book for doglovers everywhere shows us the many ways in which dog is the mirror of man. No dog lover will be able to resist.

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Product Description:

A scholar, psychoanalyst, and cultural critic explores the multifaceted role dogs play in our world in this charming bestiary of dogs from literature, lore, and life.

While gradually unveiling her eight-year love affair with her French bulldog, Grisby, Mikita Brottman ruminates on the singular bond between dogs and humans. Why do prevailing attitudes warn us against loving our pet “too much”? Is her relationship with Grisby nourishing or dysfunctional, commonplace or unique? Challenging the assumption that there’s something repressed and neurotic about those deeply connected to a dog, she turns her keen eye on the many ways in which dog is the mirror of man.

‘The Great Grisby’ is organised into twenty-six alphabetically arranged chapters, each devoted to a particular human-canine union drawn from history, art, philosophy, or literature. Here is Picasso’s dachshund Lump; Freud’s chow Yofi; Bill Sikes’s mutt Bull’s Eye in Oliver Twist; and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s spaniel Flush, whose biography was penned by Virginia Woolf. There are royal dogs, like Prince Albert’s greyhound Eos, and dogs cherished by authors, like Thomas Hardy’s fox terrier, Wessex. Brottman’s own beloved Grisby serves as an envoy for sniffing out these remarkable companions.

Quirky and delightful, and peppered with incisive personal reflections and back-and-white sketches portraying a different dog and its owner, ‘The Great Grisby’ reveals how much dogs have to teach us about empathy, happiness, love – and what it means to be human.

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Great Grisby

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