Pride, Popes and Vows: Some Medieval Representations of the Peacock

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Abstract

Everyone knows that peacocks are proud. Medieval authors did too, and hence often associated the bird with superbia. To assume that the medieval peacock was always interpreted in a negative light is, however, deeply misguided. This article demonstrates the wide range of peacock meanings, and explores in detail little-known late-medieval associations of the bird with bishops and Popes, and with a specific set of chivalric values. As such it contributes to our understanding both of the cultural history of the peacock, and of medieval animal symbolism more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-63
JournalModern Language Review
Volume117
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Sep 2021

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