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The Velveteen Rabbit, by
Margery Williams and Sir William Nicholson

The Velveteen Rabbit is online (please click on the title to read the text) 

Animism & Various Disciplines

Have you heard of animism?  According to its theorists and disciples, there is life in everything.

Sir Edward Burnett Tylor  

It would appear that Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, an anthropologist, is the first person to have used the word animism.  His book, entitled Primitive Culture, was published in 1871.  Sir Edward Burnett Tylor defines animism as “the general doctrine of souls and other spiritual beings in general.” (Wikipedia) 

Animism and Various Disciplines

The term and concept have been used by anthropologists, such as Claude Lévi-Strauss; sociologists: Émile Durkheim, the father of sociology; philosophers and psychologists: Jean Piaget.  However, it is a broad concept and very ancient.  Totemism comes other the general heading of animisme (Wikipedia, French entry). 

We have bestowed life upon objects for thousands of years.  We pray in churches in front of statues.  Representional works of art re-present.  What they re-present is given a new life by the artist. 

The Velveteen Rabbit & Jean de La Fontaine 

In children’s literature, Margerie Williams‘s The Velveteen Rabbitillustrated by Sir William Nicholson and published in 1922, by Heinemann, warrants attention.  The discarded toy rabbit returns as a live rabbit.  As well, fabuliste Jean de La Fontaine attributed a soul to animals, while not doing so openly.  Fables are a dire-sans-dire, or oblique literature.

And what about music?

The Velveteen Rabbit

Sir William Nicholson (video)
L. V. Beethoven, Symphony no.9 mvt.4 ( Ode to Joy )
(please click on the links to see the video and hear the music)
L. V. Beethoven, symphony no.9 (complete)
 
Micheline Walker©
April 30, 2012

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