Reynard Strikes Again (Mmmm… Marginalia #42)

Remember Reynard the Fox, my co-blogger and frequent cable news talk show contributor?* I found this little snapshot of him doing what he does best down in the lower margin of MS Bodl. 264 (click to enlarge):


For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog for years on end, a little explanation is in order. Reynard is the cute furry trickster character of French satirical romance. He’s sort of the medieval version of Bugs Bunny, but not the nice Bugs who jams in space and only annoys people who deserve it; think the early Bugs who’s just a jerk to Elmer for no reason whatsoever. Or, maybe it’d be more accurate to say that he’s the medieval version of Scratchy (Of Itchy and… fame)–but that would only work if Scratchy were the star and hero of his own long-running show, instead of just a little one-off joke they throw into every sixth episode of the Simpsons.

Anyway, Reynard is a cute little fuzzy fox who is also a lascivious homicidal maniac who either rapes or devours most of his friends. I don’t know all the Reynard stories,** but I think this one is a mash-up of the one where Reynard bites the head off of Chanticleer’s daughter Coppen and all the animals have an elaborate funeral for her and the one where Reynard fakes his own death so that he can ambush his enemies friends frenemies after they’ve embarrassed themselves giving long and emotional eulogies for the bastard.

Here’s a closeup of Reynard leaping out of a coffin with his latest victim in his jaws:


Since the bird in his mouth is clearly a rooster, perhaps this is a depiction of a different version of Coppen’s funeral (than the one I know), one where Reynard jumps out of the dead chicken’s coffin to ambush her grieving father. That sort of thing is just his style.

*By the way, don’t ever go up to Reynard and say, “Hey, do you work for Fox News? Because you should. You know, Fox News, Reynard the Fox, get it?” You should’ve seen the way he eviscerated the last guy who made that joke. It would have been funny, if the the guy’s kids hadn’t been watching. And if Reynard hadn’t just finished doing the guy’s wife, also in front of they guy’s kids. And if he hadn’t then sold the guy’s intestines as saint’s relics and convinced the king to wear the guy’s bladder as a hat. On second thought, maybe not so funny. I forget, is spurting viscera funny or tragic?
**There’s still no good translation of at least half of them. Someone, quick, get on that. We need a new edition, stat.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Isaac

    Your spurting viscera are funny; my spurting viscera are tragic.

  • Andrew

    I love how the two middle lions are turning back with a "what the…?" expression. Speaking of "What the?" What the heck is that monkey holding?

  • Got Medieval

    According to the notes for the image in the Bodleian's system, the monkey is swinging an aspergillum and carrying a holy water bucket (aka an aspersorium) to refresh it in.

  • catannea

    Dare anyone say the word "rooster" might be eternally banned from your blog, and replaced by a simple cock? Some people prefer cockerel…

  • RST

    Like all the useful information. I actually own a business that sells Medieval accessories so I always enjoy learning about the history.

    Thanks,
    Pete
    http://www.redskytrader.com
    http://redskytrader.blogspot.com/

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