I'm doing research on anthropomorphism in literature and thought this might be a good place to ask some questions. My research is really about anthropomorphic machinery, but I thought H-Nilas folks might know a thing or two about anthropomorphic reps of nature (flora or fauna) that may be useful.
It's my sense that most analysis of anthropomorphic machineery considers the effect of humanizing machine and not the effect of mechanizing the human (which is what I'm interested in). Does anyone know of similiar lines in the study of anthropomorphic nature? Are we more interested in humanizing the animal, tree, etc, or in some kind "naturalizing" of the human?
Also, I'm a bit hung up on Onno Oerlemans "A Defense of Anthropomorphism" in which he writes, “Contemporary forms of anthropomorphism are frequently taken to suggest a lack of seriousness. It is what children do, or what we do for children. Talking animals are now primarily the realm of Disney, of easy sentiment and willed escape from the affairs of humans, or even of a barely suppressed misanthropy. In literature, as Ursula Le Guin rightly notes in the introduction to her collection of stories about talking animals, anthropomorphism has largely been relegated to writing for children, which is itself relegated to the realm of the un-serious.” Are Oerlemans and Le Guin right? From what I know of legend, the anthropomoprhic animal is used very much as part of adult lessons. Am I off?