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The Peasant Doctor: A Medieval Turnaround Tale

One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to figure out its sense of humour. In medieval Europe, this means looking at fabliaux: short, funny tales that demonstrate common stereotypes and jokes – usually sexual, violent, and containing a clear scapegoat.

The Snow Baby: A Cautionary Tale

Most of the time, fabliaux are lighthearted and lusty, but occasionally they stray into dark humour, like ‘The Snow Baby’.

From Swifan to Swyved: Contemplating the Evolution of Medieval Double-Entendre Literature

Throughout history verbal jousts tested a participant’s creativity, knowledge, and mastery of language, thus catalyzing the evolution of so-called wisdom literature.

Men’s Words in Women’s Mouths: Why Misogynous Stereotypes are Humorous in the Old French Fabliaux

How can misogyny, or any such unabashed and unrepentant diatribe against women, be part of a genre which is largely considered to be comic?

The Farce of the Fart – new book offers scandalous plays from medieval France

They were the sitcoms of their time –– lowbrow comedies that lampooned every serious topic, from sex and relationships to politics and religion

The Bad Behaviour of Friars and Women in Medieval Catalan fabliaux and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

They perpetrate many deceptions in order to gain a sexual or monetary advantage over their victims and are portrayed as malicious mischief-makers and the protagonists of humorous and smutty stories. Women also feature in these either as deceived victims or as the perpetrators of deception, as they outwit their husbands in order to enjoy their own adulterous affairs.

Turnabout is Fair Play: Cross-Dressing and Female Tricksters in Medieval French Texts

I will be examining a very particular version of this woman. In each case she appears, at least for a time, in disguise, in male garb.

That’s Not Funny: Comic Forms, Didactic Purpose, and Physical Injury in Medieval Comic Tales

Comedy, though often seen by the ancients as a lesser form of art, has a certain form and structure that audiences expect. Comedy serves an important social function. It alleviates social fears, draws a community together by defining its values, and often works as a critique of a culture in a non-threatening manner.

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