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Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Sovereign: Skin, Heraldry, and the Beast

Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Sovereign: Skin, Heraldry, and the Beast

Chapter:
(p.68) Chapter Three Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Sovereign: Skin, Heraldry, and the Beast
Source:
In the Skin of a Beast
Author(s):
Peggy McCracken
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226459080.003.0004

This chapter argues that romance representations of sovereign relations defined by protection and exile invite a consideration of the shared being of the beast and the sovereign. An analysis of the symbolic use of animals in heraldry and the material use of animal skin structure the chapter's inquiry. The first part of the chapter reads Chrétien de Troyes’s Chevalier au lion (Knight of the Lion) as a romance about the use of animal skins as armor and animal images as heraldic emblems; both uses of animals designate human identity. The second part of the chapter turns to the thirteenth-century Guillaume de Palerne (William of Palermo), where skins represent both disguise and animal transformation, and where the beast and the sovereign merge.

Keywords:   skin, armor, disguise, Le chevalier au lion, Guillaume de Palerne, heraldry, beast, protection, werewolf

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