Originated by Michael Woods, Tricksterville is the heading for a series of illustrations and books made in collaboration with author Robert St Cloud.
Tricksters are found at frontiers.
They hang around doorways, crossroads, borders. And their shiftiness and slipperiness allow them to move easily between different worlds. This gives them their unique character of the mischief-making outsider. The trickster exploits the uncertainty of frontiers by crossing the threshold and exposing lies on either side. In the words of Lewis Hyde (in ‘Trickster Makes This World’) “They’re all the same, these tricksters; they have no shame and so they have no silence.”
In our present conflicted times we find frontiers everywhere we look. And if we probe further we find tricksters operating in the spaces between. They exploit the moments
of conflict created by chance and necessity and, in this way, they bring about change
in unexpected ways.
Most cultures have their trickster tales – often centred on an animal character:
Brer Rabbit, Coyote, Anansi the Spider, Crow. In Western Europe, the stories of Reynard the Fox are perhaps the most well known in the trickster tradition. Tricksters stand outside society and its moral codes. They are often cruel and wicked. But, in exposing
the hypocrisies of their age, they have a pivotal role to play in changing the way we live.
In the medieval tradition, Reynard is a liar, an adulterer, a murderer. But, like us, he is an animal. And, whilst being alive to all his brutality and sadism, we cannot help but be enchanted by his quick wit and laugh at his cunning as he exposes the greed and hypocrisy of those in power.
Tricksterville Publishing is dedicated to letting loose the trickster on the modern world.
‘Reynard the Fox’ is the first book we have published. Illustrated by Michael Woods.
Text by Robert St Cloud. The illustrations of the trickster beast by Michael Woods are based on extracts from the Twelfth Century Old French, ‘Roman de Renart’, translated by Robert St Cloud.
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