In The Skin Of A Beast: Sovereignty And Animality In Medieval France by Peggy MccrackenIn The Skin Of A Beast: Sovereignty And Animality In Medieval France by Peggy Mccracken

In The Skin Of A Beast: Sovereignty And Animality In Medieval France

byPeggy Mccracken

Hardcover | May 17, 2017

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In medieval literature, when humans and animals meet—whether as friends or foes—issues of mastery and submission are often at stake. In the Skin of a Beast shows how the concept of sovereignty comes to the fore in such narratives, reflecting larger concerns about relations of authority and dominion at play in both human-animal and human-human interactions.

Peggy McCracken discusses a range of literary texts and images from medieval France, including romances in which animal skins appear in symbolic displays of power, fictional explorations of the wolf’s desire for human domestication, and tales of women and snakes converging in a representation of territorial claims and noble status. These works reveal that the qualities traditionally used to define sovereignty—lineage and gender among them—are in fact mobile and contingent. In medieval literary texts, as McCracken demonstrates, human dominion over animals is a disputed model for sovereign relations among people: it justifies exploitation even as it mandates protection and care, and it depends on reiterations of human-animal difference that paradoxically expose the tenuous nature of human exceptionalism.
Peggy McCracken is the Domna C. Stanton Collegiate Professor of French, Women’s Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. Her many publications include The Curse of Eve, the Wound of the Hero: Blood, Gender, and Medieval Literature and The Romance of Adultery: Queenship and Sexual Transgression in Old French Li...
Title:In The Skin Of A Beast: Sovereignty And Animality In Medieval FranceFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:May 17, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022645892X

ISBN - 13:9780226458922


Table of Contents

List of Color Plates
1. Wearing Animals: Skin, Survival, and Sovereignty
2. The Social Wolf: Domestication, Affect, and Social Contract
3. Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Sovereign: Skin, Heraldry, and the Beast
4. Snakes and Women: Recognition, Knowledge, and Sovereignty
5. Becoming-Human, Becoming-Sovereign: Gender, Genealogy, and the Wild Man

Editorial Reviews

In the Skin of a Beast is more sophisticated and goes further than any previous discussion in demonstrating the centrality of animals to the medieval polity. McCracken offers elegant close readings of texts while presenting theoretical ideas with precision, great clarity, and above all considerable brio.”