By Peggy McCracken
Peggy McCracken discusses a variety of literary texts and photographs from medieval France, together with romances during which animal skins seem in symbolic monitors of energy, fictional explorations of the wolf’s hope for human domestication, and stories of ladies and snakes converging in a illustration of territorial claims and noble prestige. those works demonstrate that the features characteristically used to outline sovereignty—lineage and gender between them—are in reality cellular and contingent. In medieval literary texts, as McCracken demonstrates, human dominion over animals is a disputed version for sovereign family members between humans: it justifies exploitation while it mandates defense and care, and it depends upon reiterations of human-animal distinction that satirically reveal the tenuous nature of human exceptionalism.
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