This book is about the relation between literature, one of the oldest of human endeavors, and animal studies, one of the newest disciplines within the humanities. It seeks to find common ground between two very different approaches to the same question, or sets of questions pertaining to how humanity defines itself, and to whether or not this definition has something to do with the animal world. In mapping out this common ground, the present book will endeavor to address these questions by describing the new discipline called animal studies in terms that will be familiar to students of literature: What kind of characters do animals play in literature? What sorts of narratives do they inhabit? What is their figurative status? Why, how, to whom, and for whom do animals speak?