Our relation with animals is mostly lived and thought today in terms of economy (products), environment (species), or affects (friends). We have the power to extinguish any animal species on earth, including our own. We so completely dominate our environment that we have forgotten that our relation with animals is fundamentally one of power. Peggy McCracken reminds us that medieval animal literature is still “good to think” (8), for it consistently relates animals with sovereignty. In fact, there is no medieval literature that is not about or of animals, insofar as it owes its preservation and transmission to animal skins. Medieval thinkers, writers, and readers created a corpus of texts and images that documents a turning point in the relationship between humans and animals, an era when domination was not yet total and was still thinkable as reciprocal, albeit most often in a violent mode. Animals could respond, even if...
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Book Review| December 01 2018
In the Skin of a Beast: Sovereignty and Animality in Medieval France
In the Skin of a Beast: Sovereignty and Animality in Medieval France. By McCracken, Peggy.
University of Chicago Press,
Modern Language Quarterly (2018) 79 (4): 449–451.
Virginie Greene; In the Skin of a Beast: Sovereignty and Animality in Medieval France. Modern Language Quarterly 1 December 2018; 79 (4): 449–451. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-7103449
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