The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Beast Within

Animals in the Middle Ages, 2nd Edition

By Joyce E. Salisbury


216 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2010-10-13
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Praise for the first edition:

"…a brave and fascinating exploration of an area that has so far been rather neglected by both historical and literary critics. The Beast Within provides extremely valuable information on the legal and cultural background of the human-animal relationship…" -- Studies in the Age of Chaucer

This important book offers a unique exploration of the use of and attitude towards animals from the 4th to the 14th centuries.

The Beast Within explores the varying roles of animals as property, food and sexual objects, and the complex relationship that this created with the people and world around them. Joyce E. Salisbury takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, weaving a historical narrative that includes economic, legal, theological, literary and artistic sources. The book shows how by the end of the Middle Ages the lines between humans and animals had blurred completely, making us recognise the beast that lay within us all.

This new edition has been brought right up to date with current scholarship, and includes a brand new chapter on animals on trial and animals as human companions, as well as expanded and updated discussions on fables and saints, and a new section on ‘bestial humans’. This important and provocative book remains a key work on the historical study of animals, as well as in the field of environmental history more generally, and also provides crucial context to ongoing debates on animal rights and the environment.

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: Preface to the Second Edition Introduction: What is an animal? 1: Animals as Property Animal Use Animal Values Attitudes and Ambiguities 2: Animals as Food Wild Animals Domestic Animals Attitudes Toward Food 3: Animal Sexuality Sexual Characteristics of Animals Bestiality 4: Animals as Human Exemplars Classical Heritage Medieval Rediscovery The Animals 5: Animals as Humans Animals on Trial Companion Animals, or Pets 6: Humans as Animals Creatures on the Borders Bestial Humans Metamorphosis Conclusion: What is a Human? Appendix: Relative Animal Values Notes Bibliography

About the Author

Joyce E. Salisbury is the Frankenthal Professor of History Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, USA. She has published widely, and is the author of The Blood of Martyrs (2004), and Church Fathers, Independent Virgins (1992), and the editor of Sex in the Middle Ages (1991) and Medieval World of Nature (1993).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General