Neotenic Representations in Gerald Durrell’s Works

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Dr. Sudipto Chowdhury


Neoteny refers to a set of infant-like characteristics which, if present in even adult non-human animals, are found endearing by humans and activates nurturing responses in them. These features are large eyes, short limbs, a  large head compared to the body, upright posture and a generally rounded configuration etc. Konrad Lorenz calls these features collectively as ‘child schema.’ In culture industries, toy and doll-makers, as well as cartoon film-makers, exploit this tendency of their consumers to increase their sales by representing animals neotenically. It is a process of deliberate juvenilization.  Though a form of anthropocentric representation, Gerald  Durrell has shown in his works how neoteny can be used ecocentrically to change human attitudes towards neglected and so-called  ‘ugly’  creatures.  Combined often with anthropomorphism, neoteny becomes a  potent tool in  Durrell’s hands to fight anthropocentrism and promote ecocentrism.


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How to Cite
Dr. Sudipto Chowdhury. “Neotenic Representations in Gerald Durrell’s Works”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 5, no. 3, Aug. 2020, pp. 193-02, doi:10.53032/tcl.2020.5.3.26.


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