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Journal Article

King Kong in the mist

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Lubrich, O., & Liebal, K. (2016). King Kong in the mist. KulturPoetik, 16(1), 49-63. doi:10.13109/kult.2016.16.1.49.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-54A6-0
In the twentieth century, two key texts about the »greatest of the great apes«, the gorilla, shaped our perception of other primates. At the first glance, they could not be more different.While one represents a fictive struggle with an aggressive monster (King Kong, 1932), the other is the memoir of a scientist who researches and protects gentle creatures (Gorillas in the Mist, 1983). When read as travel narratives, however, both reveal surprising similarities. Starting with a journey to a remote, unknown place, they describe the humans’ conflicting emotions during their encounter with animals. Both books deal with the recognition that we share cognitive and affective traits with the bestial ›other‹. The article compares the presentation of gorillas in these different and yet similar texts from the interdisciplinary perspective of literature and primatology. It explores the role of emotions in inter-species interaction and in the process of knowledge production in the field.