The Wolf Threat in France from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century

Abstract : For a long time, the wolf danger came from rabid animals, as well as predatory ones. During more distant periods, there were undoubtedly more humans devoured by predatory wolves than bitten by rabid ones. "Crisis periods" can be discerned: the 1596-1600 period, at the end of the French Wars of Religion, saw a remarkable number of attacks. It is during the 1691-1695 period that the highest peaks can be observed. This makes it easier to understand the resonance that the publications by Charles Perrault - Little Red Riding Hoods and Little Thumblings - might have had during this period. Almost all French provinces experienced incidents mirroring those seen in continental Europe, from northern Italy to Russia. The memory of these affairs, passed down by witnesses of attacks or by wounded survivors (mostly children when the attacks occurred), very rarely outlasted the mid-nineteenth century. From the end of the Ancien Regime, these extremely localised attacks by "man-eating" wolves had become mere bad memories. In contrast, rabid wolf attacks persisted for longer: the fatal outcome of the illness and the dramatic seizures suffered by rabies victims continued to shock contemporaries until the 1880s. The memory of rabid wolf attacks by animals that struck indiscriminately, regardless of age, sex, or social standing, was also more enduring.
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Pré-publication, Document de travail
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Contributeur : Carine Lecerf <>
Soumis le : mercredi 25 juin 2014 - 14:12:43
Dernière modification le : mardi 5 juin 2018 - 10:14:18
Document(s) archivé(s) le : mardi 11 avril 2017 - 08:30:17


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  • HAL Id : hal-01011915, version 1



Jean-Marc Moriceau. The Wolf Threat in France from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. 2014. 〈hal-01011915〉



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