Love, Poetry, Storytelling and the Chase ―Now in Paperback

StagOfLove_CoverThe Stag of Love is a book about erotic metaphors that grew from the aggressive, unrelenting chase for wild creatures. Literally, the chase was a sport and a military exercise. It meant pursuit to the point of combat and slaughter for the sake of food, recreation, and territorial conquest.

The disciplined violence of the chase appealed to love poets from the Greeks to Shakespeare to our day. Poets and storytellers used the chase to enact sexual desire and fulfillment, along with strategies for getting love, the joys of love, and love’s exalting mystique. Darts, arrows, footprints, nets, leashes, struggle, wounds, blood, death and dismemberment became part of the literary love game.

Who was the “stag of love”? A 12th century image shows a stag with a girl’s face. Her antlers are her crown, and she’s sprinting away from the hunter.

E. E. Cummings put it from his perspective. The man’s fair game in:  “All in green went my love riding. . . . My heart fell dead before.”

The Stag of Love: The Chase in Medieval Literature. By Marcelle Thiébaux. Cornell University Press, 2014. Available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.

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Copyright 2013 Marcelle Thiebaux