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Ravishing Wolves: Visual and Verbal Satire in Early Renaissance France

Fri, March 23, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Hilton Riverside Complex, Chart Room A

Abstract

Robert Gobin’s allegorical poem, Les Loups ravissans, sets a saintly shepherdess against ravenous wolves in a satirical moral treatise that decries corruption in church and state. The wolf, symbolic enemy of Christ, the Good Shepherd, was already famous from the popular medieval tales of Renard the fox, and he sprang forth here with new vigor because of the ambiguous adjective "ravissans" : at once ravishing and ravaging, dazzling and dangerous. The celebrated Parisian publisher Anthoine Vérard issued ca. 1505 the first edition of Gobin's Loups ravissans and illustrated it with a set of woodcuts designed for his prior edition of Jean Bouchet’s Regnars traversant. Anthropomorphized Archwolf walks upright, sporting a cape made of sheepskin and exemplifying those who have plundered, raped, betrayed, and assassinated their victims throughout history. By examining both the text and its images, we explore how human society is satirized through the wolves of Gobin and Vérard.

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