The Naming of the Beasts: Natural History in the Medieval Bestiary
London: Duckworth, 1991
"Bestiaries have been much studied, but almost entirely from a textual point of view. Little attention has been paid to the pictures, and until recently almost none to the natural history. The object of this book is to correct these deficiencies, and to show that, so far from being an ignorant collection of moralities and old wive's tales, as has usually been assumed by scholars, a bestiary is an attempt, not wholly unsuccessful or discreditable for the time at which it was produced, to give an account of some of the more conspicuous creatures that could be seen by the reader or that occurred in legends. In spite of its name, it is not concerned only with beasts. It usually includes rather more birds than mammals (to which 'beasts', Latin bestia, are equivalent), often some fishes and reptiles, and a few insects and other invertebrates.There are also accounts of trees and, in a few copies, of sundry natural phenomena and unnatural wonders. We shall deal mainly with the beasts and birds, where the best natural history is found." - Yapp, introduction
231 pp., illustrations (some color), bibliography, index, manuscript lists.
ISBN: 0-7156-2238-2; LCCN: 93-110777; LC: QL351.G461991; DDC: 591.01220; OCLC: 20524101
Last update December 11, 2021