Thursday, May 28, 2015


My favorite reading from the quarter was "Bisclaveret" because of the perspective it provides. Its a strange sort of horror story, a Lord with all the power in the world is turned into a voiceless animal and shunned by all he knew. I like readings that switch the role of human and animal, it gives a really strong and sometime terrifying perspective on the way we treat animals. For instance, imagine the horror Bisclaveret must have felt being hunted down by the King's hounds. For a long time the fox hunt was just another Saturday morning activity, but this story tries to give voice to the silent fox.

Another telling point of the story is how value in animals is perceived. The king only spares Bisclaveret after he prostrates himself to the monarch. The king and mankind as an extension only see value in animals when they are servile and have some utility; I can't imagine the King sparing any foxes. Finally there's is something terrible about a free man turned into a grovelling slave. As a werewolf, Bisclaveret becomes a dog to the King, eating scraps and sleeping on the floor of his chamber, it really makes one examine the relationship we have with dogs and whether it is more one sided than we thought.

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