In the second half of the 18th century, the Gévaudan (today’s Lozère) was a poor and isolated province, a land of small herdsmen and wolves. It was there that the Beast spread its terror. What was it? Why did it attack primarily children? What dangers did we invent? The Beast may not have been the only one… faced with its aggressions, some reacted heroically, like young Portefaix, 12 years old, who succeeded in chasing off the animal to save one even younger than himself. His accomplishment was known throughout the country and the king himself authorized a reward for him.
However, after many unsuccessful hunts, fear and panic rose. People imagined the most formidable monsters, half human and half animal. The king’s soldiers, along with his best hunters, were called to the rescue. It took many long years, from 1764 – 1767, to put an end to the Beast… but do we really know what this extraordinary animal was? Is it still a mystery?
Other beasts, in other regions of France, were just as murderous as this one. This is the only one however that has remained so famous: from Gévaudan to the court of Louis XV in Versailles, the historian Jean-Paul Chabrol leads us on a strange adventure where imagination and terror caused by the ravages of the beast mix together.
The illustrator Frédéric Cartier-Lange was inspired primarily by engravings and newspapers of the period to create a world that borders on legend and fantasy.
Year of publication of the presented edition : 2020 (71 pages)
Editor : Alcide Jeunesse
The author :
Jean-Paul Chabrol born in 1947, with a degree in history, is a specialist of Gévaudan and the Cevennes, focusing on the unique social and religious elements of the region. He is the author of fifteen works focused on the Camisard war and the development of religious prophecy.
Frédéric Cartier-Lange Born in 1976, is a writer-illustrator. He is pursuing studies in plastic art. Since 2005 he has devoted some of his time to writing and illustrating books for young people, notably editions of Bonhomme vert. He is also a freelance graphic designer.