Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs


Scott Brown

Publication Date



In this thesis I highlight the literary techniques used in fabliaux to understand the power struggles traversed by the characters. This work focuses on methods of avoiding the shame emasculation in scenes from the fabliaux Berangier au lonc Cul, Du Prestre qui fu mis au lardier, Du Prestre crucefié and De la Saineresse. A fabliau is an amusing short story in poetic form, originally performed by troubadours and trouvères. This form is most present in manuscript examples from the 12th to the 14th century. The stories involve simple characters, word play and idiomatic expressions. I argue that literary mechanisms are used in these texts in a conscious effort to augment the characters shame while explicitly implicating the audience in playing the shame game and shaming themselves if they do not understand the clever wordplay of the storyteller. The use of shaming word play by troubadours is explicit rather than simply a reflection of an aspect of medieval culture.


fabliaux, French, poetry, medieval, shame, humiliation, cuckold, sex, troubadour, rhetoric, jousting, courtly romance, Guerin, battle of the sexes, honor, dishonor

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Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Bishop, Stephen

Second Committee Member

Peters-Newell, Marina