Edited by Richard Trachsler and Baudouin Van den Abeele
[Reinardus 33] 2021
► pp. 54–73
The subject of this study is the use of animals in Jaume Roig’s Espill, a lengthy discourse on the dangers of love, written in Catalan in about 1460. The author presents a fictional autobiographical story in tetrasyllabic verses in which the main character details his negative experiences with women and encourages a life devoted to contemplation and chastity after having received a lesson from King Solomon in a dream. The antifeminine speech in Espill is presented in short verses and uses satire to exaggerate the deceptiveness of female behaviour. Animal symbolism plays an important role, as women’s negative behaviours are compared with animals often associated with negative characteristics. The traits that bestiaries conferred on each animal are appropriate to antifeminine discourse, and many of the species are mentioned using the female gender. The animals that appear in Espill are not only symbolic but are also taken from daily life and include those used in gastronomy, medicine, and cosmetics. This demonstrates the author’s remarkable familiarity with the environment of the Kingdom of Valencia.