Top 10 talking animals in books

From Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat to Franz Kafka’s ‘Ungeziefer’, linguistically gifted beasts have made for some of the most luminous characters in fiction

Animal characters in works of fiction have generally been used in a rather anthropomorphic way. This can be seen as a problem, though, and many say that reading animals as symbols of us reduces them, makes them smaller, steals their right to be seen as subjects who have their unique, distinctive way of existing. Others say that it’s not a problem at all because it’s not as if animals – even though they’re each different in shape and thought – will ever get to know what we write about them, how we place, use and interpret them and give them meaning through human filters.

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