Reynard the Fox

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Reynard the Fox

(rĕ`nərd, rā`närd), the supreme trickster and celebrated hero of the medieval beast epics, works predominantly in verse which became increasingly popular after c.1150. They are found chiefly in Latin, French, Low German, Dutch, High German, and English. The type probably originated in a German-speaking section of what is now Alsace-Lorraine, whence it passed into France, the Low Countries, and Germany. The summons of Reynard by King Noble (the Lion) to answer accusations by Isengrim the Wolf and other animals forms the nucleus and starting point of the loosely connected tales. Most of the stories reflect in biting satire the peasant's criticism and contempt for the upper classes and the clergy. An episode at once outstanding and typical is the funeral of Reynard, with the pious laments of his late enemies and his devastating resurrection from the grave. Professional minstrels and poets soon found these tales good entertainment and made them popular with the upper and middle classes. The French, who contributed most to the original story, produced Le Roman de Renart (c.1175–1250). Caxton translated from a Flemish version his Historie of Reynart the Foxe (1481). By 1700 there were 22 further editions. Modern English versions include T. J. Arnold's translation (1860) of Goethe's Reinecke Fuchs, a paraphrase of an older High German version, and William Rose's Epic of the Beast (1924).


See K. Varty, Reynard the Fox (1967); The History of Reynard the Fox, tr. by W. Caxton, ed. by N. F. Blake (1970).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Two of the four CPs recorded belong to the fragment included in the Helsinki Corpus from The History of Reynard The Fox. In this sample of text, 16 occurrences of the simple verb to complain have been found, on only two occasions was the CP used, and on only one of these occasions does adjectival modification occur.
When Noble, the great Lion-king, held court during the Feast of the Pentecost, all the animals told the king of their grievances against Reynard the fox. The list of sins and crimes was almost as long as the list of animals present.
Reynard the Fox is classified as a "beast epic." The underlying framework of this popular medieval literary form is a series of stories linked by the same characters--invariably, anthropomorphized animals (hence, "beast epic").
Since Reynard the Fox is one of the most important examples of this genre, the debate, in this case, is quite significant.
8) contains stories similar to those in the Reynard the Fox series.
A rather short poetic rendering of Reynard the Fox stories was done in medieval Latin by an eighth century cleric, Paulus Diaconus (Paul the Deacon), from Charlemagne's court.
Reynard the Fox appeared in Latin, French, German, Flemish, Dutch and English versions--testimony to its popularity.
In the meantime, it is still possible to evaluate the extant material on its own terms, because Reynard the Fox evolved as the archetype of the beast epic.
The story is based on the medieval tale of Reynard the Fox, common to French, Flemish, and German literature.
The main literary tradition of Reynard the Fox descends from the extant French "branches" of the Roman de Renart(about 30 in number, nearly 40,000 lines of verse).
He published a modern Flemish translation of the 13th-century Van den vos Reinaerde ("Of Reynard the Fox"), with an epoch-making introduction, in 1834, followed by a scholarly edition (1836), which won him fame abroad.