Coqs, poules, et chapons au service de la satire dans le Gallus pugnans de Vadianus (1514)

Elodie Paupe


The article examines Joachim von Watt's (Vadianus) satirical work Gallus pugnans, published in 1514. This literary piece uses the metaphor of chickens, roosters, and capons to critique societal norms and behaviors, particularly the dynamics between men and women. Vadianus, a Swiss humanist born in St. Gallen, was known for his commentaries on ancient authors and translations, including the first German translation of the Batrachomyomachia, a parody attributed to Homer. His work Gallus pugnans is set in a court-like setting where hens accuse roosters of violence and negligence in protecting the coop, while the roosters counter-accuse the hens of jealousy. Neutrally-gendered capons are chosen as mediators, leading to a superficial restoration of harmony. The article delves into the complex structure and thematic elements of Gallus pugnans, highlighting its blend of judicial speech, satire, and comedy. It reflects the Renaissance style of Vadianus, characterized by a mix of adaptation and innovation. The satirical aspect is further enriched by the animal characters, drawing parallels to human societal norms and behaviors, especially in the context of gender relations and the scholarly world. Vadianus's work is an example of the Renaissance satirical genre, linking back to the antique 'satura' and influenced by Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata. It also incorporates aspects of judicial and academic satire, using animal characters to critique and mock contemporary societal and institutional practices. The portrayal of hens and roosters in stereotypical gender roles serves as a metaphor for human relationships, blending humor with critical commentary.

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