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Author Topic: From Aesop to Reynard: Beast Literature in Medieval Britain  (Read 3009 times) Average Rating: 0
LyricFox
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« Topic Start: December 04, 2010, 08:43:04 am »

Title: From Aesop to Reynard: Beast Literature in Medieval Britain
Author(s): Mann, Jill
Publisher: New York: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 0199217688
ISBN-13:
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

From The Medieval Review:
Animal fables and beast epic belong to the common stock of medieval European literature. In medieval England fables are ubiquitous but examples of beast epic, in Latin, Anglo-French or English are not so widespread as they are in France or the Low Countries. There is Nigel of Longchamp's Speculum stultorum in Latin, the Vox and the Wolf and of course William Caxton's Reynard the Fox, to which should be added a few individual tales like Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale and some of Henryson's Morall Fabillis. Although the individual genres have received some attention in the past, with most of that going to the fables, the only more or less recent publication that comes to mind in which both were tackled is Thomas Honegger's From Phoenix to Chauntecleer. [1] Honegger's monograph is not only broader in scope than Mann's but also concentrates very much on the meaning of the animals. Mann, as she explains in the Introduction, is not so much interested in what animals mean, but in how they mean (1), but before she examines the Anglo-Scottish tradition in greater detail the background of medieval fables and beast epic is outlined in the Introduction. Here we encounter the familiar, if sometimes legendary, writers from classical antiquity: Aesop, Phaedrus, Babrius, and Avianus. The tradition becomes somewhat more complex in the Middle Ages with the different recensiones of the Romulus from which the vast majority of all medieval fables derive. The beast epic genre cannot boast such a long history as that of the fable with the eleventh-century Ecbasis captivi as its earliest representative, but the influence of some of its later offshoots like the Speculum Stultorum and the Roman de Renart has been considerable, to which the later chapters in From Aesop to Reynard testify. The outline of medieval animal literature would not be complete without the mention of some other genres which may not have been as important as the fable and beast epic, but which nevertheless left their mark on them. The Physiologus and bestiaries are one such, and so are oriental tales such as those found in the Petrus Alfonsi's Disciplina Clericalis which gave us the story of the fox and the wolf in the well.

Read the full review at The Medieval Review web site.

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Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.
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« Reply #1: December 04, 2010, 02:04:44 pm »

Title: From Aesop to Reynard: Beast Literature in Medieval Britain
Just the kind of thing I {heart} reading about.  Very want...but price=very ouch.

Brina
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« Reply #2: December 04, 2010, 06:19:51 pm »

Just the kind of thing I {heart} reading about.  Very want...but price=very ouch.

Brina

This was a book I knew would appeal to a lot of our members...and the price would hurt.
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