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From Aesop to Reynard – Beast Literature in Medieval Britain - Oxford Scholarship Online
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From Aesop to Reynard: Beast Literature in Medieval Britain

Jill Mann


What do stories about animals have to tell us about human beings? This book analyses the shrewd perceptions about human life—and especially human language—that emerge from narratives in which the main figures are ‘talking animals’. Its guiding question is not ‘what’ but ‘how’ animals mean. Drawing a clear distinction between beast fable and beast epic, it examines the complex variations of these forms that are to be found in the literature of medieval Britain, in English, French, Latin, and Scots (modern English translations are provided for all quotations). The analytical method of the book c ... More

Keywords: beast fable, beast epic, Marie de France, Speculum stultorum, The Owl and the Nightingale, Chaucer, Robert Henryson, The Vox and the Wolf, Reynard the fox, animals

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199217687
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217687.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jill Mann, author
Emeritus Notre Dame Professor of English, University of Notre Dame; Life Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge