Though his book is wildly inventive, Savage is far from the first novelist to anthropomorphize a rat. Firmin stands out for presenting literature as sustenance for the body as well as the mind - as Firmin eats his way through the books, the thoughts, words and deeds contained consume him with intoxicating curiosity.
For every work of literature that contains a positive description of an anthropomorphized rat, there are probably at least a couple where rats come off less well; they seem to do especially poorly in books 'peopled' only by animals where they tend to be typecast as villains or outcasts.
From the rats of Hamlin to Dilbert's co-employee Ratbert, rats feature far and wide, although not nearly as widely as mice. Here's a quick run down of a few of the better known literary rats.
- The rats of Brain Jacques's Redwall series - possibly the nastiest and most villainous of literary rodents.
- The rats in Animal ...