Medieval hunting rituals are generally seen as indicators of the social complexion of medieval society. This paper will examine the prominent hunting ritual known as the curée in which the hounds are feasted upon freshly killed venison. The ritual is examined as a projection of noble dominance over society in which ritual impact is effected through a co-opting of imagery from the Eucharist. The development of the curée and the Catholic Eucharist is historicised diachronically and in tandem. Sharing ritual forms, the curée and the Eucharist are interpreted as mutually constitutive, as ‘feeding’ off of one another.
This paper will examine the Renart and Primaut episode in the Roman de Renart: the fox convinces the wolf to sneak into the church, where they have a nocturnal feast on the provisions in the tabernacle. An analysis of the vocabulary referring to the things they feast upon will reveal how anxieties about the instability of language, typical of the Renardian tradition, seep into this narrative. Amongst the earliest branches (c. 1178), this branch draws on the earlier Latin ‘Ysengrimus’ and introduces, I will argue, allusions to the issues raised by the Eucharistic Controversy of the 11th century, thereby exploring institutional discourse within the structure of Renardian allegory.