chapter  1
32 Pages

Feathers, Wings, and Souls

WithRebecca Ann Bach

Birds were ubiquitous in the English Renaissance creaturely world. In Renaissance England and Europe, writing practices connected writing with birds, specifically with bird wings and beaks. The bird-identity of Renaissance pens is also an instance of how fundamental geese were in the English Renaissance. Renaissance humans fed and protected geese for human food purposes and for the human use of goose feathers. The apparent category confusion in this chapter would not have been confusing in the Renaissance since humans very frequently thought of the voice that comes from the human mouth in terms of birds. The specific material differences between types of birds were important to people in the Renaissance, and attentiveness to those differences extended to the details of bird feathers, beaks, and behavior. As Renaissance humans understood, wild geese accurately perceive danger, fly fast and out of range, and fly together.