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Making And Breaking The Stag: The Construction Of The Animal In The Early Modern Hunting Treatise

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Chapter Summary

Chased relentlessly through woods and fields, harried by hounds, and ultimately slaughtered by arrow or sword, the hunted animal in early modern Europe exemplifies humanity's subjugation of the natural world. The stag first appears in fragments, diverse parts and traces that are gradually assembled, like a puzzle, to construct a living animal. Hunting treatises are the richest source of information about the chase in early modern Europe. This chapter concentrates on La Vénerie, and considers two subsequent manuals: Eugenio Raimondi's Le Caccie delle Fiere Armate, a wide-ranging book on various types of sport, and George Gascoigne's The Noble Art of Venerie or Hinting, a close translation of Jacques du Fouilloux which also includes information about English practice as well as poetic interludes. The necessity of transforming the quarry into a dangerous enemy in the context of the parforce hunt generates a broader challenge to the tidy subordination of the animal.

Keywords: early modern Europe; George Gascoigne; hunting treatises; Jacques du Fouilloux; La Vénerie; stag



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