Author Archives: Lynn Festa

About Lynn Festa

Associate professor of English at Rutgers University. She previously taught at Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is author of Sentimental Figures of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France (2006) and many articles, including recently ‘‘Person, Animal, Thing: The 1796 Dog Tax and the Right to Superfluous Things,’’ Eighteenth-Century Life 33, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 1–44.

Humanity without Feathers

The title of this essay is not simply an echo of Woody Allen’s neurotic reversal of Emily Dickinson’s ‘‘Hope is the thing with Feathers’’; it alludes, of course, to the venerable enumerative definition, as old as Plato, of man as a ‘‘featherless biped capable of speech and reason.’’