2004
Volume 125, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

The relationship between man and cat in the Low Countries between 600 and 1800 could be described as kaleidoscopic, but also contradictory, problematic, and ambiguous. Even in the early Middle Ages people came to appreciate the usefulness of cats, but from the twelfth century they began demonizing the animal. At the same time, in both literature and the visual arts, the cat came to be associated with negative qualities such as laziness, vanity, pride, and especially lust. Only from the middle of the seventeenth century did the cat take a modest place in the new home decoration that contributed to identity formation and cultural distinction. Yet even at the end of the period many cats were the subject of brutal public entertainment and structural violence. The real revolution in our relationship with the cat is more recent. However, anthropomorphization, in which all kinds of human qualities are uncritically attributed to the cat, continues unabated.

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2012-12-01
2021-11-28
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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