The English Reynard

In the Middle Ages, in the borderland where Romance and Germanic languages meet — Picardy, Flanders and Alsace — a new literary genre emerged: beast epic. From the Romance tradition it took elements of the fable and its non-moralising counterpart, monastic satire; the ‘world turned upside down’, for instance, and the wolf as monk, abbot or…

First page of ‘Reynard’s History’

c. 1400 Willem, who laboured to indite Madoc in many a wakeful night, Willem took it much to heart That one adventure of Reynard In Dutch remained as yet untold, Which had not been writ of by Arnold. For that legend he made a search And began to tell it in Dutch After the French…

Reynard the Fox

The Triumph of the Individual in a Beast Epic Reynard the Fox (Van den vos reynaerde) was written around 1260 by a certain Willem, part of it being an extremely free version of a French tale. Around 1400 this text was reworked and provided with a sequel under the title Reynard’s History (Reynaerts historie). Scholars…