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Related to fabliau: mock-heroic


plural fabliaux (both: fäblēō`), short comic, often bawdy tale in verse that deals realistically and satirically with middle-class or lower-class characters. Fabliaux were often directed against marriage and against members of the clergy. The form was extremely popular in France during the Middle Ages. Excellent examples of fabliaux can be found in pre-Christian Oriental literature, in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and in Boccaccio's Decameron.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a short comic or satirical verse tale in French urban literature of the 12th to early 14th centuries. About 150 fabliaux are extant, most of them anonymous, although such major poets as Rutebeuf wrote them as well.

The fabliaux were lively depictions of comic situations; they combined coarse humor with moral precepts. The main characters were sensual priests and monks, deceived husbands, and peasants. In terms of plot and ideology the fabliaux are similar to farces. The fabliaux influenced such Renaissance short stories as those of Boccaccio; their plots and stylistic features were later used by La Fontaine, Molière, Balzac (Droll Stories), and A. France.


Fablio: Starofrantsuzskie novelly, per. so starofrants. Moscow, 1971.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 138—44.
Rychner, J. Contribution à l’étude des fabliaux, vols. 1–2. Geneva-Paris, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Even Peggy Knapp, whose reading of the Canterbury Tales focuses on the "contest" among social and generic "discourses" both among and within the individual tales, does not mention fabliau among the genres - epic, romance, "aristocratic chronicle," and Boethian consolatio - she sees contesting the generic space of the Knight's Tale (28-31).
The book begins with a discussion of the term fabliau in relation to the French fabliaux, and synopses of the plots of six fabliaux, and goes on to build up a definition of fabliau through its observed characteristics: the target figure, irony (misleadingly defined on p.
I find her proposal engaging, especially when I compare her fabliau women (penis envy, castration complex and all) to the castrated females constructed by writers of psychoanalytic papers and case histories.
In a fallen fabliau world, the perverse interpreters January and May both set their inventive, authorial agency against the sacred historical form of their relationship.
(12) Nevertheless, unless a categorizing revolution actually takes place in scholarship, it seems to me best to retain 'fabliau' as the understood term for tales self-selected through their focus on 'jape' and 'harlotrie', even if they differ substantially from each other in execution.
The fabliau tells of an impoverished chastelain who repays his creditor by marrying off his own daughter to the usurer's son.
The Bairds have noted the importance of this element of fabliau within the play "Joseph's Doubt" but Joseph himself fears the effects of such a marriage even before his betrothal: "An old man may nevyr thryff / With a zonge wyff, so God me saue" (10.278-79).
The earliest fabliau, Richeut, dates from about 1175, but the main period of their composition was the 13th century, extending into the first half of the 14th.
A French medieval form, the fabliau is a story tale in verse, usually concerning the ordinary activities of middle or lower-class characters.
The material derives from the oral folk tradition of bawdy anecdotes, practical jokes, and clever tricks of revenge, but the term fabliau was first specifically applied to a medieval French literary form, a narrative of three hundred to four hundred lines in octosyllabic couplets.
58), everything he could remember, as he likes to repeat, using the first person as self-referencing and direct speech, sometimes for dramatic effect, verges on the fabliau style, it is suggested, for he is pre-eminently a storyteller.
To describe a fabliau as the Miller's 'project' in which he develops his 'naturalistic theory' (p.