Though animal stories and fables stretch back into the antiquity of ancient India, Persia, Greece and Rome, the reasons for writing them and their resonance for readers (and listeners) remain consistent to the present. This work argues for their essential roles as sources of amusement and instruction, as well as being profoundly unsettling. Authors as diverse as Tolkien, Freud, Voltaire, Bakhtin, Cordwainer Smith, Karel Capek, Vladimir Propp, and many more are discussed in relation to their work in the realm of the animal fable.
Bruce Shaw did his early professional work in anthropology, compiling oral history of aboriginal Australians. Later, he took up English literature. He lives in Perth, Western Australia.