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

Author(s): Jerónimo Méndez

Journal: Skepsi
ISSN 1758-2679

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 52;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Chaucer | Catalan narrative | medieval humour | bad behaviour | comical culture | fabliaux | Canterbury Tales

In some medieval Catalan narrative works we can find some samples of real bad behaviour exhibited by clergymen and specially by friars from mendicants orders (Franciscans and Dominicans, basically). They are the authors of several monetary and sexual cheats and appear as malicious mischief-makers and protagonists of funny and smutty stories. Together with these characters, some times women will appear as deceived victims. However, they try to mislead their husbands in adultery affairs as lustful liars too.The antieclesiastical tales of Anselm Turmeda in his Disputa de l'ase (Donkey's Dispute, inspired by Boccaccio), the hilarious Llibre de fra Bernat by Francesc de la Via (Book of Brother Bernard, next to the tradition of fabliaux in thematics), and the anonymous and even misogynous lines of the Col·loqui de dames (Colloque of Dames) will be the fifteenth-century texts where we can find grotesque scenes and we can study some interesting aspects of humour in the medieval literature. And more important in order to keep in mind the truly significance of these literary works: all these transgressor behaviours are in fact so bad deeds that will remind without any kind of punishment in the future and they configure together moral topics represented per negationem in satirical literary texts.So, this paper will look over these Catalan works in order to point out how bad behaviour is shown in the Romance narrative of the Late Middle Ages and besides it will try to relate some themes and characters to Chaucer's works (The Canterbury Tales, specially) with the aim to discover points of contact and new possibilities for the comparative research of the medieval comical culture.
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