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Animal skins and the reading self in medieval Latin and French bestiaries

Author: Sarah Kay
Publisher: Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, cop. 2017.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Just like we do today, people in medieval times struggled with the concept of human exceptionalism and the significance of other creatures. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the medieval bestiary. Sarah Kay’s exploration of French and Latin bestiaries offers fresh insight into how this prominent genre challenged the boundary between its human readers and other animals. Bestiaries present accounts of animals  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Sarah Kay
ISBN: 9780226436739 022643673X
OCLC Number: 999902644
Notes: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Notes bibliogr., index.
Description: 1 vol. (XV, 203 p., 24 p. de pl.) : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Introduction : skin, suture, and caesura --
Book, word, page --
Garments of skin --
Orifices and the library --
Cutting the skin : sacrifice, sovereignty, and the space of exception --
The riddle of recognition --
Skin, the inner senses, and the soul as "inner life" --
Conclusion : reading bestiaries.
Responsibility: Sarah Kay.
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Abstract:

Just like we do today, people in medieval times struggled with the concept of human exceptionalism and the significance of other creatures. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the medieval bestiary. Sarah Kay’s exploration of French and Latin bestiaries offers fresh insight into how this prominent genre challenged the boundary between its human readers and other animals. Bestiaries present accounts of animals whose fantastic behaviors should be imitated or avoided, depending on the given trait. In a highly original argument, Kay suggests that the association of beasts with books is here both literal and material, as nearly all surviving bestiaries are copied on parchment made of animal skin, which also resembles human skin. Using a rich array of examples, she shows how the content and materiality of bestiaries are linked due to the continual references in the texts to the skins of other animals, as well as the ways in which the pages themselves repeatedly—and at times, it would seem, deliberately—intervene in the reading process. A vital contribution to animal studies and medieval manuscript studies, this book sheds new light on the European bestiary and its profound power to shape readers’ own identities.

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"This beautifully illustrated book brilliantly shows how medieval Latin and French bestiaries thoroughly impacted a wide range of readers both via the content of the texts themselves and via their Read more...

 
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