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Our cultural heritage contains stories that arouse passions, which it is no longer clear whether they are legendary or historical. Such is the case in France of the Beast of Gévaudan.
What is this reputation for? Does it correspond to realities? And if so, which ones? It is to answer these questions that this little book was born, both a state of our knowledge and an illustrated album.
While many things relate this drama, which struck Auvergne and Gévaudan from 1764 to 1767, to others that preceded or followed it, its impact remains unparalleled.
Posters, laments and caricatures have forged a myth whose echo rebounds with the return of the wolf to France today.
Beyond speculation on the identity of the beast for 250 years, the author provides an informed, clear and up-to-date guide, with a fine harvest of documents, which deciphers the affair like a soap opera, in preserving the suspense as experienced by contemporaries.
Year of publication of the presented edition : 2015 (72 pages)
The author :
Born in 1956, a former student of the École Normale Supérieure, Jean-Marc Moriceau is a professor of modern history at the University of Caen and president of the Association for the History of Rural Societies. He is the author of Les Fermiers de l'Ile-de-France, XV-XVIIIth century (Fayard, 1994, reissue 1998), a Guide to land and peasants in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries (Presses universitaire de Rennes, 2000); of Moving Lands: The French countryside from feudalism to globalization, 12th-19th century (Fayard, 2002); a History and Geography of French Livestock from the Middle Ages to the Revolution (Fayard, 2005); and History of the bad wolf: 3000 attacks on man in France, 15th - 20th century (Fayard, 2007).
He also directed the publication of Campaigns in Social and Political Developments in Europe (Sedes, 2005). Founding director since 1994 of the international journal Histoire et Sociétés Rurales, he directs the Library of Rural History collection at the Center for Research in Human Sciences at the University of Caen. With the geographer Philippe Madeline, he runs the Pôle rural seminar of this same Research Center and directs the “Library of the Pôle rural” collection.