This book is a typological study of canids and canid imagery in Medieval Celtic cultures. It explores texts ranging from early Irish legal tracts and heroic narrative to example from Welsh, Breton, and later Scottish sources. This work is a typological study of canids (dogs and wolves, related creatures like dogheads and werewolves, as well as a few foxes and otters, since these are considered 'dogs' or dog-related in Celtic taxonomy) in Celtic cultures, primarily in literature, although legal materials and folklore are also drawn upon for the ways they illuminate Celtic cultural understandings of these creatures.
The four typological chapters encompass Canids: Ordinary, Renowned and Monstrous; Serial Shapeshifting (where a canid form occurs amongst a variety of animate and inanimate shapes which a poet, magician, or other character passes through in a narrative or poetic utterance); Lycanthropy (wolf-human transformation), Cynanthropy (dog-human transformation), and Alopanthropy (fox-human transformation), as witnessed in metaphorical instances, constitutional conditions, magical or cursing occurrences, and several other varieties; and, Cynocephali (dog-heads), as reflected in naming conventions, tales of a humanoid dog-headed race, and stories illustrating an attention to dogs' heads, whether in a narrative or an onomastic context. This book will appeal to scholars and enthusiasts of Celtic literature and folklore at all periods, monster studies and werewolf enthusiasts, and anyone interested in dogs and wolves and the literary presentation of animals in medieval and other premodern cultures.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd