Les comparaisons et les monstres : figures structurales de la description zoologique dans "L'Histoire de la nature des Oyseaux" de Pierre Belon du Mans

Philippe GLARDON

fr Anthropozoologica 13 - Pages 27-44

Published on 31 December 1990

Comparisons and monsters: structural patterns of the zoological description in L'Histoire de la nature des Oyseaux by Pierre Belon du Mans

Pierre Belon is known as a precursor of modem natural sciences. This article aims at correcting this partial and restrictive point of view, analysing in depth Belon's text, within its cultural background. This exam of comparison, mainst instrument to zoological description until 17th century, authorizes to show an original perception of nature, which finds its roots by Aristote. Monster plays an essential part in this complete natural System: if it does not belong to teratology, monster is remarkable through its marginal situation in the family of beings, as it simultaneously borrows characters from aquatic, terrestrial or aerial animals. So monster appears as a vital articulation between large aristotelian categories, assuring unity of natural world.


Renaissance, Bird, Monster, Comparison, Metaphor.

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