Schiesari’s Beasts and Beauties

In a lot of ways, my cat and I are quite similar. Like him, I enjoy naps, appreciate a good meal and like being held from time to time – but only when it’s my idea. At the same time, I would hate to be a housecat, confined to the home and ignorant of the world outside. Certainly a product of my generation, if I were an animal, I’d be a tough one to domesticate.

Schiesari’s Beasts and Beauties: Animals, Gender, and Domestication in the Italian Renaissance looks at the relationship between domesticity and power in an era of Italian humanism that saw humanity as hierarchical, with elite European males at the apex while women, foreign males, and animals occupied lesser degrees of being. Ultimately, both pets and women were domesticated in this era, and Schiesari examines the ways in which notions of femininity, sexuality and animality were closely intertwined. Are they still?

I’m happy to give you some food for thought today with this wonderful excerpt from Beasts and Beauties, just released by UTP last month.

Et voila – an excerpt from Beasts and Beauties.


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