Bestiaries and their Users in the Middle Ages

Ron Baxter

Phoenix Mill, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1998

Digital resource PDF file available

"Previous studies on Bestiaries have centred on these luxury books, with their colourful illustrations and diverting stories of animal behavious, and Bestiaries have been represented either as keys to the iconography of medieval animal sculpture in stone and wood, or as early and inept attempts at zoology. Ron Baxter's exhaustive research has shown these conclusions to be at best simplistic and at worst quite wrong. This book enables to closer than ever before to the true purpose, use and meaning of the Bestiary. Dr. Baxter, employing a completely fresh and comprehensive approach, has undertaken extensive new research into a large corpus of Bestiaries, applying modern narrative theory to their texts and images to reveal the messages encoded in them... By applying the results of this analysis to medieval library records he has been able to identify important centres of Bestiary use, and to present a radically different picture of what Bestiaries were to their medieval users." - cover copy

Includes tables of chapter orders and surviving Latin bestiaries, as well as a revision to the established system of Bestiary Families, building on the work of M. R. James and Florence McCulloch. A very valuable book.

242 pp., color and black & white plates, glossary, bibliography, index.

Language: English

ISBN: 0-7509-1853-5; LCCN: 98211645; LC: PA8275.B4Z541998; DDC: 809/.9336221; OCLC: 39718250


Last update May 28, 2022