The Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle was represented during the Revolution as a site where the display of the proper images of Nature would help elevate public morality. At the Museum’s new menagerie, one claimed, citizens would learn to behave better toward one another if they saw animal nature improved through kind treatment, social interaction, and the enjoyment of at least a certain amount of liberty. There was a gulf, however, between theory and practice. The desired scenarios were not easy to produce. Nor was it easy to control the conclusions that the menagerie’s visitors derived from what they saw there. This paper focuses on the lions of the menagerie and the diverse and sometimes contradictory narratives and human projects that emerged in connection with them. Whereas Lacepède suggested that a modern menagerie would be better without lions, the public wanted to see lions, the keeper of the menagerie’s fierce animals wanted to exhibit lions, and the government was pleased to have lions as symbols of France’s political eminence and global reach.
|Translated title of the contribution||The voice of the lion keeper, or the multiple meanings of the animals of the menagerie of the National Museum of Natural History|
|Number of pages||29|
|Journal||Annales Historiques de la Revolution Francaise|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2014|
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