A Boye’s life

July 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

At last someone–early modern historian Mark Stoyle–has written about Boye, Prince Rupert’s poodle. The book, just out, is The Black Legend of Prince Rupert’s Dog: Witchcraft and Propaganda During the English Civil War.  (Here’s a review in the Times Higher Education Supplement.) The necessity of a whole book about  a dog that’s been dead for  350 years might not seem, well, obvious. But the function of Boye in the print, politics, and imagination of the 1640s is very much worth investigating. Why was he (or possibly she, according to Stoyle’s book)  a lightning rod in the first civil war, a four-legged figure that polarized public opinion, a sure sign of evil or a symbol of the superior courage of the royal line? Stoyle’s book promises to help us understand.

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