The Science and Art of Diagnosing and Treating Disease or Injury and Maintaining Health
I am starting to note any potential wider historical forces that may alter the position of the wild man over the long the term.
I think for at least a moment in the 13th century at least one scribe saw the potential for this creature to contain the whole of human history and made it so. What I don’t think is that this move in any way represents the original meaning an essential meaningful core of the subject through which all subsequent repetition can be explained.
It’s also a standard diagnostic procedure found in history and natural history that allows a subject to be confined.
The wild man has a relationship with melancholia. In Britain its state of mind is the result of trauma on the battlefield. If I present this as a potential origin for the subject I have read enough 19th century natural history to know what to do next. Naturalization of the subject allows the identification of the ‘true origin’ of the subject “mis-observation.”
Myth can be confined and identified as a creature of error. All subsequent repetition can be explained as the product of an unscientific mind which in its infirmity and decline reaches to myth. With the wild man it’s not melancholia that performs this function; it takes time to identify this relationship, the sources are somewhat obscure and belong to different branches of history, so this form of myth making has yet to be advanced in regard to medecine. Other means are however open, which allow the subject to be presented as a perfectly understandable product off mind.
The common observation here is that the wild man is a mis-observed monkey or ape. Here we could suggest, if we take a satirical turn, that this move may also contain ‘the whole origin of human history as if in miniature’ A creature betwixt art and instinct was the way in which the ancient poets presented humanity in its orrginal state. It was, mutum et turpe pecus, dumb and mired in sin.