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Skin, the Inner Senses, and the Soul as “Inner Life”

Skin, the Inner Senses, and the Soul as “Inner Life”

(p.128) 6 Skin, the Inner Senses, and the Soul as “Inner Life”
Animal Skins and the Reading Self in Medieval Latin and French Bestiaries
Sarah Kay
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores how two texts, Hugh of Fouilloy’s Aviarium and Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amours, foster a sense of inner self or “soul” by situating the reader within an imaginary framework of sight and touch. Both texts have prologues appealing to their recipients’ imagination and both dwell on images of parenting though in Hugh’s case the reader is the cared-for infant whereas Richard, ever ironic, casts himself in that role so as to manipulate his lady into caring for him. Although very different in their convictions – Hugh’s views being documented from his De Claustro animae, Richard’s from his scientific and philosophical readings – both situate the self on the inner surface of a skin that may be that of a human or nonhuman animal. The chapter reads closely the page of the Aberdeen Bestiary portraying the Cedar as a woman with doves and pages of Bestiaire d’amours manuscripts devoted to the mother Ape and her children. It concludes with a redefinition of the manuscript matrix as a skin within which the reading self takes shape, using the example of the chapters on the Elephant in the H bestiary text in Sidney Sussex 100.

Keywords:   aviarium, Hugh of Fouilloy, Bestiaire d'amours, Richard de Fournival, Aberdeen Bestiary, woman with doves, ape, manuscript matrix, elephant, Sidney Sussex MS 100

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