Animals frequently appear as symbols or allegories in medieval literature. This panel, however, seeks to recover the original animality that is lost when we dismiss the animals as transparent allegories. We might know what the animals mean for the narrative, but why does the story use animals—and why these particular animals—in order to convey such meanings? Papers can potentially combine animal studies, close-reading, and historicism to examine the portrayals of animals as animals in medieval literature. Papers could consider such wide-ranging topics as:
The micro-narratives of animals in the midst of larger medieval tales (such as the weasels in the Volsungsaga or beasts of battle in heroic poetry).