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The New Middle Ages

Animal Languages in the Middle Ages

Representations of Interspecies Communication

Editors: Langdon, Alison (Ed.)

  • Challenges rather than reinforces the human-animal divide, setting itself apart from previous full-length studies on this topic
  • Acknowledges the various modes of meaning through which human and nonhuman animals communicated between and among themselves in the Middle Ages
  • Includes a breadth of discussions that range from falconry and horsemanship, as well as imaginative literature and medieval anthropocentrism
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Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-71897-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-71896-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

The essays in this interdisciplinary volume explore language, broadly construed, as part of the continued interrogation of the boundaries of human and nonhuman animals in the Middle Ages. Uniting a diverse set of emerging and established scholars, Animal Languages questions the assumed medieval distinction between humans and other animals. The chapters point to the wealth of  non-human communicative and discursive forms through which animals function both as vehicles for human meaning and as agents of their own, demonstrating the significance of human and non-human interaction in medieval texts, particularly for engaging with the Other. The book ultimately considers the ramifications of deconstructing the medieval anthropocentric view of language for the broader question of human singularity.

About the authors

Alison Langdon is Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University, USA. She is the editor of Postscript to the Middle Ages: Teaching Medieval Studies through Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (2009) and has published articles on the women troubadours, Chaucer and his contemporaries, and canines in medieval literature. Her current projects center on the liminality of human/animal identity in the medieval imagination.  

Reviews

“This diverse and useful collection of essays takes us deeper into the critical animal turn of medieval literature by addressing compelling cases of verbal and bodily languages in nonhumans. Most imperatively, the book at points bravely pursues a broader acknowledgment of animal utterance as it contests the now outmoded human ownership of language.” (Lesley Kordecki, Professor of English at DePaul University, USA)

 “Animal Languages in the Middle Ages now arrives in timely fashion to remind us that…the Middle Ages already witnessed a similar outpouring of interest in animal semiotics. Surveying saints’ lives and hawking manuals, verse romances and veterinary treatises, this volume demonstrates that medieval attitudes toward animal consciousness were more complex, more nuanced, and in some ways more accurate than the modern animal science that has supplanted them.” (Bruce Boehrer, Bertram H. Davis Professor of English, Florida State University, USA)

 “Animal Languages in the Middle Ages attends to gesture, to avian Latins, to the attentiveness required to train falcons and horses, and even to lions as emotional therapists. With cases that span the Middle Ages, ranging from Persia to Iberia, in a host of languages, human and otherwise, this collection’s on-the-ground picture of the shared worlds of humans and nonhumans utterly demolishes the false belief that medieval people, as a whole, thought of animals only as nonlinguistic, passive tools.” (Karl Steel, Associate Professor, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, USA)

“Assembling established and emergent voices in the field of medieval literary and cultural studies, Animal Languages offers a vivid exploration of interspecies codependence across a range of disciplinary perspectives. Rather than approaching nonhuman animals as mere topics of discourse or tropes in medieval thought, this textured collection richly explores modes of communication beyond human speech or writing—including the body language of horse hooves, otter breath, canine faces, and modalities of touch, smell, gesture, and motion. Animal Languages is paradigm-shifting in its linguistic, cultural, and textual range, addressing Latin, Old English, Anglo-Norman, early and late Middle English, Old French, and Arabic and Persian literary traditions.” (Jonathan Hsy, Associate Professor of English at George Washington University, author of Trading Tongues: Merchants, Multilingualism, and Medieval Literature)

Table of contents (13 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Langdon, Alison

    Pages 1-9

  • Becoming-Birds: The Destabilizing Use of Gendered Animal Imagery in Ancrene Wisse

    Jevtić, Iva

    Pages 13-30

  • “As faucon comen out of muwe”: Female Agency and the Language of Falconry

    Petrosillo, Sara

    Pages 31-50

  • Saints and Holy Beasts: Pious Animals in Early-Medieval Insular Saints’ Vitae

    Shockro, Sally

    Pages 51-68

  • The Speech of Strangers: The Tale of the Andalusi Phoenix

    Hamilton, Michelle M.

    Pages 69-87

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-71897-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-71896-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Animal Languages in the Middle Ages
Book Subtitle
Representations of Interspecies Communication
Editors
  • Alison Langdon
Series Title
The New Middle Ages
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-71897-2
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-71897-2
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-71896-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 272
Number of Illustrations
10 b/w illustrations
Topics