Monday, April 18, 2011

Apparently the French aren't fond of wolves (or hyenas)...

I had little hope of finding much in ARTstor, but when I mistakenly searched for Gévaudan in that database--instead of
Jstor--I came across a few pieces that (though not directly connected to the killings) illustrated the French attitude towards wolves , as well as a few pieces that make direct reference to them . Those that spoke of Gévaudan were both drawings depicted gruesome battles between man and a hyena-like beast (for one of the speculations of the creature was that it may have been a hyena).

I also found a number of sketches by a man named Jean-Baptiste Huet I, all drawn in the mid-1700s (many during or just after the span of attacks). The rather dour opinion the French had of wolves was proven quite well simply by pictures' titles: A Wolf Hunt (late 18th, early 19th century) and A wolf biting a hound (1767). Assuming that the French liked their dogs to be the un-bitten sort, I think it's safe to say their opinion of wolves to be quite unsavory.

The difficulty with studying a beast of French origin is this: all the really good articles (or what I assume are) are in French. After searching through the Historical Abstracts, I found an piece called LA VERITE SUR LA BETE DU GÉVAUDAN (The truth concerning the beast of Gévaudan). While the description was in English and looked quite promising, the article itself was in French. Frustrating to be sure, but not totally unexpected, as these events did occur in France where most people--only by coincidence, of course--speak French.

(Works cited)

Huet I, Jean-Baptiste. A Wolf Biting a Hound. 1767. British Museum, London. ARTstor. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <>.

Huet I, Jean-Baptiste. A Wolf Hunt. Late 18th, Early 19th Century. British Museum, London. ARTstor. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <>.

Will, Johann Martin. Accurate Vorstellung, Welches Nach Dem Französischen Original Gestochen, Des Seit Dem Monath Sept. Des 1764.ten Jahrs Zu Gevaudan in Der Provinz Languedoc in Franckreich Dermahlen Sich Seigenden Wilden Thiers Hyene, Sonsten Vielfrass Genannt. Circa 1764. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. ARTstor. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <>.

Will, Johann Martin. Eigentliche Abschilderung Des Seit Dem Monath Sept. Des 1764ten Iahrs Zu Gevaudan ... Sich Zeigenden Wilden Thiers Hyene ... Circa 1765. Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. ARTstor. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <>.

(Apologies for the incorrect formatting--blogger doesn't allow tabbed indentations)

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