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Book of the Beasts

The Book of the Beasts (Llibre de les bèsties) is the seventh of the ten parts into which Felix or the Book of Wonders (1288-1289) is divided, and takes the place of a zoological treatise. In fact, it represents a serious reflection upon politics in the form of a fable. Llull sets up a complex plot, full of nuances, in which we can follow the machinations of Na Renard, the vixen, in her aim of achieving dominance and of exercising power from behind the scenes. The animals in the fable, which Llull took from oriental sources and from the French Roman de Renard, are a pretext for depicting some of the more sinister facets of the human condition. From the start of the work the reader realises that the protagonist will do anything in order to command: her intention is not to become rich but rather, to revel in the pleasure of ruling over everything, a pathetic inclination which takes shape at every level of human relationships. Na Renard ends up failing, the victim of her own boundless ambition, but her fall only comes to pass after many injustices and atrocities.

At the end of the Book of the Beasts, we are told that Felix took the work to a royal court, so that the king might take care when it came to deciding whom to trust. It is highly possible that Llull wrote this chapter of Felix as a warning to the king of France, Phillip IV, The Fair, with whom he had had political contact during the years he was composing the work.