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FA-55138-10
Animal Wrongs: Animals and the Law in France Since the Later Middle Ages
Peter Sahlins, University of California, Berkeley

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FA-55138-10

1668: The Year of the Animal in France (Book) [show prizes]
Title: 1668: The Year of the Animal in France
Author: Peter Sahlins
Abstract: This work reveals the remarkable and understudied “animal moment” in and around 1668 in which authors (including La Fontaine, whose Fables appeared in that year), anatomists, painters, sculptors, and especially the young Louis XIV turned their attention to nonhuman beings. At the center of the Year of the Animal was the Royal Menagerie in the gardens of Versailles, dominated by exotic and graceful birds. In the unfolding of his original and sophisticated argument, Sahlins shows how the animal bodies of the menagerie and others were critical to a dramatic rethinking of governance, nature, and the human. The animals of 1668 helped to shift an entire worldview in France—what Sahlins calls Renaissance humanimalism toward more modern expressions of classical naturalism and mechanism. In the wake of 1668 came the debasement of animals and the strengthening of human animality, including in Descartes's animal-machine, highly contested during the Year of the Animal. At the same time, Louis XIV and his intellectual servants used the animals of Versailles to develop and then to transform the symbolic language of French absolutism. Louis XIV came to adopt a model of sovereignty after 1668 in which his absolute authority is represented in manifold ways with the bodies of animals and justified by the bestial nature of his human subjects.
Year: 2017
Publisher: Zone Books
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781935408994
Copy sent to NEH?: No


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