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Journal > Volumes > 50 (2019) / 3 (Autumn)
Louis Guyon’s Wolf-Boy of the Ardennes: Motherhood and Magic in Early Modern France
Mireille Pardon
Yale University

Feral children narratives have provided the opportunity for many authors to explore the boundary between civilization and nature and what gives some the special ability to cross it. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, interest in such stories grew and a cluster of related stories circulated in Western Europe. The most detailed account in this “first cluster” was the wolf-boy of the Ardennes, first published by Louis Guyon in his 1603 Les diverses le.ons. In recalling a story about a young boy lost in the woods, raised by a she-wolf, and later reintegrated into human society, Guyon explored issues related to witchcraft trials and the scholarly debate over demonology that they produced. The attention given to the wolf-boy of the Ardennes and other early modern feral children narratives reflected the intellectual interests of the time, illuminating changing ideas about the supernatural as well as contemporary concepts of motherhood.

Pages: 745 - 764