Traditionally, literary beasts of the colonial era tended to reflect visions of an exoticised other, feared or desired. They provided texts with aesthetic but passive images, tropes of human desire, but were rarely displayed as creatures considered as themselves. Leconte de Lisle’s poems, for example, abound with creatures that evoke nostalgia for civilisations gone-by; attraction to far away countries; and a yearning to escape from modernity and the day-to-day realities of western societies.



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