Calais Gate (Or, O the Roast Beef of Old England), francophobia, Hogarth, nationalism, patriotism–carnism couplet, popery
Scholars of human–animal studies, literary criticism and art history have paid considerable attention of late to how the visual representation of nonhuman animals has often and sometimes to great effect been used in the imagining of national identity. It is from the scrutinies of these several disciplines that the broad backcloth of this article is woven. Its focus is the neglected coupling of patriotism and carnism, instantiated here by its deployment in William Hogarth’s painting Calais Gate (1749). A pro-animal reading is offered of the English artist’s exhortation that it is in the nature of ‘true-born Britons’ to consume a daily dish of roast beef served with lashings of francophobia and anti-popery. The article suggests that alert contemporary viewers of Calais Gate would nevertheless have noticed that Hogarth’s painterly triumphalism ironically rekindles the repressed memory of English military defeat and territorial loss. Because the political and religious borders between England and France were so easily defaced and refaced, the accompanying air of uncertainty over national identity would also have infiltrated the perceived authenticity of English roast beef. The article draws on animal rights theory, on nonspeciesist green criminology and on green visual criminology in order to oppose the historical dominance of human interests over those of other animal species in discourses of abuse, cruelty and harm.
Beirne, Piers. “Raw, Roast or Half-Baked? Hogarth’s Beef in Calais Gate.” Theoretical Criminology, vol. 22, no. 3, Aug. 2018, pp. 426–444, doi:10.1177/1362480618787174.