Thursday, 26 May 2016

drolleries or rabbit redux

The marginalia of medieval manuscripts often feature weird and wonderful and frankly impenetrable doodles of the faithful scribe, and via the fabulous Miss Cellania, we gain some insights in a common motif, that of bunnies doing violence to humans.
It does make one wonder why one would deface a text with idle graffiti that’s probably none too edifying in any context, but there was the viral convention of the drollery or the grotesque that represented an inversion of the expected order of things. A rabbit’s revenge was an obvious candidate as they were seen as characteristically weak, wilting but prolific—a compensatory measure that was an ill-advised tactic to adopt then and now. Perhaps there is something moralising and relevant after all in having bunnies marshaling the troops, jousting or roasting a hapless human.