Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The fickle WWW

It was obvious from the beginning that Monsterpedia was a pitiful resource, when compared to Wikipedia--both in content and style (the actual prose was poorly composed, written in a simplistic, superficial style). The beast of Gévaudan didn't even get its own entry in Monsterpedia--rather, the creature was briefly mentioned in the werewolf article, simply as a French "encounter with were-wolves." (Monsterpedia) A few details follow, but they are of little consequence--merely a vague recap of information available from just about any source that mentions the beast.

The introduction of the Wikipedia on the beast contains same information . The article as a whole is better written, more organized and comprehensive. The single details focused upon flow chronologically, beginning with the attacks and flowing into the second beast's death. After this, there's more information still, not directly related to the beast, but certainly tied to it in certain ways--there's information on its appearances in film and other forms of popular media, but also scientific ponderings on just what kind of beast the beast was.

For obvious reasons, Monsterpedia had far fewer citations for Gévaudan--in fact, I couldn't actually find the source of the information that they used in the paragraph about the beast. The Wikipedia entry did contain a variety of sources, many of them quite reputable.

...

While the majority of the books I discovered through Google books were either a. irrelevant or b. in French, I did find one good source; it told the tale of the beast in a narrative rather than academic style, honing in on specific events, telling the reader just how the small children were mauled, what body-parts chewed upon and other such glorious details we probably didn't need to know (yet still, morbidly, enjoy reading of). This particular book was The Complete Idiot's Guide to Werewolves, an interesting title to note, simply because though it's an idiot's guide, they're sure to convolute the nature of the beast (which, granted is as it should be, as no one's quite sure exactly what it was), stating that "there is no doubt that the Beast of Gévaudan existed…descriptions make it seem unlikely that it was really a regular wolf. Some have theorized that it was a species of prehistoric wolf (fossils of which have been found in China, Russia, Alaska, and California) forced to encounter humans, possibly due to a shrinking habitat." (Brown) The books does not, in fact, call it--plain and simple--a werewolf.


(works cited)


"The Beast of Gévaudan." Wikipedia. MediaWiki. Web. 4 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_of_G%C3%A9vaudan>.

Brown, Nathan Robert. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Werewolves. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha, 2009. Print.

"Werewolf - Monstropedia - the Largest Encyclopedia about Monsters." Monstropedia - the Largest Encyclopedia about Monsters. MediaWiki. Web. 02 May 2011. <http://www.monstropedia.org/monster/Werewolf>.

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