Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0925-4757
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9951
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In two of his songs (421.1 and 421.2) the troubadour Rigaut de Berbezilh aspires to sing in response to a voice that is bestial yet somehow metaphysical. Scholars have attributed these animal images to the influence of the , but Rigaut’s likeliest source in that tradition has not yet been identified. This article proposes to fill that lacuna by contending that the bestiary redaction closest to Rigaut’s imagery is the , a verse text that unlike other bestiaries was used to teach Latin poetry and even song. In both the and (though in a different way) Rigaut’s songs, animals’ breath and voice are identified with life and spirit, an identification that places these works within the wider medieval context of natural philosophical interest in . Whereas Theobaldus allegorizes his beasts in the third person, Rigaut’s first-person lyrics assume their voice, breath, life or spirit as potentially his own. He thereby opens his songs to a being that is not human. No longer anthropocentric, they enact a hybridity that we find elsewhere associated with revelation and apocalypse. The horizon of human history that opens (in Heidegger’s sense) the world of human language is thereby in turn opened up to that which it closes off, and the demarcations by which humanity defines itself are suspended.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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