From Aesop to Reynard: Beast Literature in Medieval Britain

Hardcover | December 12, 2009

byJill Mann

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What do stories about animals have to tell us about human beings? This book analyzes 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.Using this question to draw a clear distinction between beast fable and beast epic, it goes on to examine the complex variations of these forms that are to be found in the literature of medieval Britain, in English, French, Latin, and Scots. The range, variety, and brilliant inventiveness of thistradition are demonstrated in chapters on the fables of Marie de France, the Speculum stultorum of Nigel of Longchamp (the comic adventures of a donkey), the debate poem The Owl and the Nightingale, Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls and the tales of the Squire, Manciple and Nun's Priest, the Reynardiantale of The Fox and the Wolf, and the Moral Fabillis of Robert Henryson. English translations provided for all quotations make the works discussed accessible to the modern reader.

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What do stories about animals have to tell us about human beings? This book analyzes 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.Using this question to draw a clear distinc...

Jill Mann took her B.A. from St Anne's College, Oxford, and her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. After a year teaching at the University of Kent at Canterbury, she took up a Fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge, where she later became Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English. In 1999 she resigned from Cambridge in order ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:448 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:December 12, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199217688

ISBN - 13:9780199217687

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. How Animals Mean2. Marie de France: the Courtly Fable3. Nigel of Longchamp: the Speculum stultorum4. The Owl and the Nightingale5. Chaucerian Birds6. Reynard in England7. Henryson: the Epicized FableAppendix 1: Suggested Identifications of Marie de FranceAppendix 2: Narrative Summary of the Speculum stultorumAppendix 3: The Epistle to WilliamAppendix 4: Gallus et vulpesBibliography