The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages

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Routledge, 2011 - Psychology - 206 pages

Praise for the first edition:

"...a brave and fascinating exploration of an area that has so far been rather neglected by both historical and literary critics. The Beast Within provides extremely valuable information on the legal and cultural background of the human-animal relationship..." -- Studies in the Age of Chaucer

This important book offers a unique exploration of the use of and attitude towards animals from the 4th to the 14th centuries.

The Beast Within explores the varying roles of animals as property, food and sexual objects, and the complex relationship that this created with the people and world around them. Joyce E. Salisbury takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, weaving a historical narrative that includes economic, legal, theological, literary and artistic sources. The book shows how by the end of the Middle Ages the lines between humans and animals had blurred completely, making us recognise the beast that lay within us all.

This new edition has been brought right up to date with current scholarship, and includes a brand new chapter on animals on trial and animals as human companions, as well as expanded and updated discussions on fables and saints, and a new section on ‚e~bestial humans‚e(tm). This important and provocative book remains a key work on the historical study of animals, as well as in the field of environmental history more generally, and also provides crucial context to ongoing debates on animal rights and the environment.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - karl.steel - LibraryThing

Caveat: I didn't finish this because I felt I'd read it already, years ago. See below. A disappointment. Clearly the Second Edition of Salisbury's oft-cited book witnesses to the still rising interest ... Read full review

The beast within: animals in the Middle Ages

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Salisbury (history, Univ. of Wisconsin, Green Bay) presents an exploration of how people viewed and used animals from the fourth to the 14th centuries A.D. Clear categories separating humans and ... Read full review


What is an animal?
1 Animals as property
2 Animals as food
3 Animal sexuality
4 Animals as human exemplars
5 Animals as humans
6 Humans as animals
What is a human?

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About the author (2011)

Joyce E. Salisbury is the Frankenthal Professor of History Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, USA. She has published widely, and is the author of The Blood of Martyrs (2004), and Church Fathers, Independent Virgins (1992), and the editor of Sex in the Middle Ages (1991) and Medieval World of Nature (1993).

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