In Jacques Derrida’s 2001–2002 seminar series La Bête et le souverain, the concept of sovereignty and the question of the animal, two ‘[spectres] immense[s] et redoutable[s]’ that had haunted his preceding seminars, are interrogated in relation to one another.1 The title and overarching metaphor of his study emerge, in the première séance (pp. 19–56) from the cultivation of a plethora of cultural representations – including but not limited to the fable, the origin myth, and the polysemy and etymology of a given word – which inscribe and reflect a deep-seated ‘accouplement, une copulation ontologique, onto-zoo-anthropo-théologico-politique’ (p. 39) between the two eponymous figures. It is in the recurring topos of the wolf, which has long afflicted the philosophy of the foundation of the polis...

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