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fabliau,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.
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.
PUBLICATIONFablio: Starofrantsuzskie novelly, per. so starofrants. Moscow, 1971.
REFERENCESIstoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 138—44.
Rychner, J. Contribution à l’étude des fabliaux, vols. 1–2. Geneva-Paris, 1960.
A. D. MIKHAILOV