Mensch-Tier-Beziehungen und die Sinne im ‚Liebesbestiarium‘ des Richard de Fournival

  • Julia Seeberger (Autor/in)


‘The Bestiary of Love’ (‘Li Bestiaire d’amours’), written around the middle of the 13th century, is probably the most famous work of the French cleric and scholar Richard de Fournival (1201–1260). Drawing on the late antique ‘Physiologus’ and medieval bestiaries, Richard created a narrative with both real and fictitious animals, whose original reading of salvation history he transfor­med into a narrative of love. This complex work shows numerous references to texts by ancient authors, especially Aristotle’s writings, and Christian ones. But not only love and animals enter into a relationship with each other. It is above all the senses, as well as remembering and forgetting, activated through sensory channels by images and text, that Richard interweaves in his animalistic love casuistry. Combining Human–Animal Studies and Sensory Studies, this article examines the different relationships humans and animals enter into and asks what role the (human) senses play in the ‘Bestiary of Love’. For this purpose, three pairs of animals are analysed as examples (cock and wild ass, lion and tiger, unicorn and female panther); they all embody sensory images of love and also represent imaginations of human–animal relationships.


‘Bestiary of Love’, Human–Animal Studies, ‘Li bestiaire d’amours’, Richard de Fournival, Sensory Studies