Cats in the 19th Century (Part 21-Cats and French Writers)

Cats and French writers seem to be inseparable, and in addition to the other French writers that have already been discussed, there were several others who found the cat to be an important companion and sometimes essential symbol in their literature and poetry. The French novelist, George Sand (1804-1876), her real name Amantine Aurore Lucile […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 20-The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr)

The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr is an autobiography of a cat written (1819-1821) by the German writer and composer, E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822).  The story is about the very literate  and precocious Tomcat Murr who decides to write  his own autobiography.  He feels he should write it because he has lived a full […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 19-Rainer Maria Rilke)

The poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), rose to become one of the most well known Bohemian Austrian poets in the German language.  Still popular today, his poem, Black Cat portrays the cat as a mystical being engulfing insignificant man.   Black Cat A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place your sight can knock […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 18-Japanese Demon Cat)

Japanese Demon Cat Demon cat stories persisted into the 19th century in Japan, and the story The Cat-Witch of Okabe was reenacted on stage.  In order to terrify the young virgins at the local temple, the witch-cat disguised herself as an old woman.  In Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s depiction of a kabuki performance of about 1835, an […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 17-Charles Baudelaire’s “Cats”)

Charles Baudelaire’s Cats The short lived French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), had much in common with Edgar Allan Poe.  Both would die young, and both were interested in the macabre and supernatural.  Baudelaire and Poe suffered from depression, drug and alcohol abuse and were sensitive men who enjoyed the company of cats. Baudelaire was often […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 16 -Théophile Gautier)

The French poet and writer Théophile Gautier  (1811-1872), truly adored cats.  Many of his poems include them, and they were his beloved companions. An excerpt from the Daily Telegraph of 1895, describes his passionate affection for his felines.             “Theophile Gautier, one of the most famous and artistic French authors of the present century, had […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 15-Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Cat Calvin)

The American author Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), famous for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, had a Maltese cat named after her husband Calvin.  When Stowe had to move, she gave the large cat to Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900), who grew to love Calvin and even wrote an entire chapter devoted to the life of the […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 14-Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cat)

The tormented American poet and writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), had a beloved pet cat named Catterina.  Edgar Allan Poe’s black cat often perched on his shoulders while he wrote as if overseeing his work and would remain there, observed a visitor, “….purring as if in complacent approval of the work proceeding under [her] supervision.”  Catterina […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 13-Mark Twain’s Cats)

The cranky cynical American writer Mark Twain (1835-1910), kept the company of up to 19 cats at a time.  Mark Twain’s cats had such names as  Sour Mash, Appollinaris, Zoraster, Blatherkite, and Beelzebub, and he preferred their company to that of humankind.  There are quite a few quotations attributed to Twain regarding cats as well […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 12-Cats in Literature-Edward Lear’s Foss)

  Edward Lear (1812-1888), known for writing The Owl and the Pussy Cat, came from a large family, the 20th of 21 children.   His father had been well off but lost his money in stocks and the family became impoverished.   When he was 15, he started selling sketches to shopkeepers for “bread and cheese”.  Two years […]

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