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"Confession of Renard, " Roman de Renart, Romance of Reynard the Fox, rite of confession


The “Confession of Renard,” Branch XIV of the twelfth-century animal epic Roman de Renart (Romance of Reynard the Fox) explores the potential risks of the rite of confession, including the danger of whetting the appetite of the sinner by having him recount and re-live his delicious past sins. The fact that Renard, the “repentant” sinner, actually eats his confessor, suggests not only that merely talking about sin, particularly sexual sin, is a perilous business, but also that confession, like digestion, is a transformational process for both the penitent and the confessor.