Metamorphoses of the Werewolf

A Literary Study from Antiquity through the Renaissance


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About the Book

The mythical werewolf is known for its sudden transformation under the full moon, but the creature also underwent a narrative evolution through the centuries, from bloodthirsty creature to hero. Beginning with The Epic of Gilgamesh, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and an account in Petronius’ Satyricon, the book analyzes the context that created the traditional image of the werewolf as a savage beast. The Catholic Church’s response to the popular belief in werewolves and medieval literature’s sympathetic depiction of the werewolf as victim are presented to support the idea of the werewolf as a complex and varied cultural symbol. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Leslie A. Sconduto is a French professor at Bradley University. Her previous work includes a study of the literature that created the traditional image of the werewolf as a savage beast. She lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Leslie A. Sconduto
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3559-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5216-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. The Werewolf in Antiquity      7
2. The Church’s Response to the Werewolf      15
3. The Werewolves of Ossory and Other Medieval Wonder Tales and Marvels      26
4. Bisclavret or a Lesson in Loyalty      39
5. Melion or a Lesson About Pride      57
6. Arthur and Gorlagon or a Lesson for an Adulteress      76
7. Guillaume de Palerne or a Lesson in Noble Sacrifice      90
8. A New Renaissance for the Wicked Werewolf      127
9. Explanations or “Que cele beste senefie”      180

Notes      201
Bibliography      211
Index      217

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Finalist, Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies—The Mythopoeic Society
  • “valuable”—Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies
  • “Sconduto, offers readers a survey of stories featuring a werewolf, an approach to medieval European literature, French in particular, that has not been full explored before. Tracing the werewolf motif is a meritorious idea, and Sconduto has found every example of note”—French Review
  • “Sconduto’s monograph occupies a prominent place among recent scholarly studies of the werewolf…study adds to…research a new and systematic analysis of major twelfth-century literary narratives about the werewolf…a pioneering piece of research…a fascinating read for werewolf fans and anyone interested in the history of this blood-chilling creature”—Canadian Review of Comparative Literature