I know of only one historical hypothesis that is instantly convincing. I read it in the Autumn 1985 number of The Ashmolean, a lively and scholarly quarterly with subjects as various as the collections in the museum that issues it. An article explored ancient Egyptian representations, including some piercingly beautiful statuettes, of cats: plumpish, sleek and palpably domestic. It recorded the arrival of domestic cats in Europe from Egypt, sketched the theological context in which ancient Egyptian culture set them and traced their probable evolution from two or more species of wild small cat found in North Africa. Wild cats, the article suggested, made their own way into human settlements. Because they killed mice, rats and snakes, the humans did not discourage them. Thus it came about that, alone of non-human animals, ‘the cat may have domesticated itself’.
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In Silenced Voices, @lucyjpop turns her attention to the journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, and the historian and activist Yuri Dmitriev, both of whom have been 'imprisoned on trumped-up charges' in Russia.
'His books ... seemed to anticipate the America that was throbbing all around me, with its violence and disappointments, its spiritual emptiness, its foolishness and its freaks.'
@PaulTheroux_ on the lure of Nathanael West.