Over here. I am proud to share my county with a beaver. It is apparently not the first beaver in Oxfordshire in five hundred years: last summer another beaver escaped from Cirencester and lived in the Cherwell before being recaptured and shipped back across the county line into Gloucestershire.
[It’s also good to see that someone mentions Gerald of Wales in the comments below the article, before it all begins to degenerate.]
Two more specimens came to light this week, and I’m not willing to wait until late October to share them with you. First, the Simone de Beauvoir centenary has led to newspaper articles like this one; second, an erudite colleague has drawn my attention to a passage from Charles Fourier, in which he argues that the dilapidated state of turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Frenchwomen gives us just as little insight into what women might be like one day as the torpor of the beaver in captivity gives us any clue to the real nature of the beaver (or something like that, anyway).
Even a disappointed Collectivist or Communist does not retire into the exclusive society of beavers, because beavers are all communists of the most class-conscious solidarity. He admits the necessity of clinging to his fellow creatures, and begging them to abandon the use of the possessive pronoun; heart-breaking as his efforts must seem to him after a time.
From “The Superstition of Divorce” (1920)
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal concerned itself, among other things, with the promotion of American children’s beaver-consciousness, via the activities of the WPA. Here’s a poster for “Revolt of the Beavers“:
The Federal Theatre Project produced a variety of children’s plays. The great majority were warmly received. The Revolt of the Beavers, however, stirred political passions from the moment it premiered. In the play, two small children are transported to “Beaverland,” where society is run by a cruel beaver chief. “The Chief” forces the other beavers to work endlessly on the “busy wheel,” turning bark into food and clothing, then hoards everything for himself and his friends. With the help of the children, a beaver named Oakleaf organizes his brethren, overthrows The Chief, and establishes a society where everything is shared. The show played to packed houses during its brief New York City run, but its message drew fire. Theater critic Brooks Atkinson labeled it “Marxism Ã la Mother Goose.”
See here for a stirring image from the play. And there’s more on Revolt of the Beavers, which was revived earlier this year by the Brooklyn Family Theater here. [Thanks!!, PM]
Not so good, I’m afraid. The entry for “Castor” in the Dictionnaire just says, “ancien Auteur. Voiez la Remarque O de l’Article DEJOTARUS”, which is over here.
Go over the fold for the article on beavers from the second volume of the mighty Encyclopédie (pp.750-753) [warning: in French, c.4,000 words] [link]
Continue reading “Encyclopédie Beaver-Blogging!”
The Stoa has long been interested in universities, Fabians and beavers, so I’m interested to learn that the newspaper of the LSE student union is called The Beaver. But can anybody tell me why?
Regular Stoa-readers will recall that the end of October and the start of November is traditionally the season for a quick bout of beaver-blogging. I’m not sure I’ve got anything beaver-themed to report right now (apart from this, obviously), but with luck we’ll have some beaver stories up here over the next few days. And do please get in touch if there’s any beaver-related item you’d like to see blogged.
Adam H sends me pictures of his MIT Philosophy Department mug. And it’s a fine mug.
In other mug-related news, our “Tough on Crime” bright green Labour 1997 campaign pledge mug is not long for the world, and now leaks coffee. Symbolically, it is choosing to bow out at the same time as the man who gave those words their immortality.