Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Logic and Humour in the Fabliaux: An Essay in Applied Narratology

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Logic and Humour in the Fabliaux: An Essay in Applied Narratology

Article excerpt

Roy J. Pearcy, Logic and Humour in the Fabliaux: An Essay in Applied Narratology, Gallica 7 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2007). 251 pp. ISBN 9781-84384-122-7. £55.00/$90.00.

As Anne Cobby's recent bibliography amply attests, structural analyses and attempts at generic definition have long played a central part in fabliau scholarship. In a study capping decades of work on these texts, Roy J. Pearcy innovatively combines both of these strands to propose a challenging reassessment of the corpus. Recognizing on the one hand the imprecision of Bédier's famous definition of the texts as 'des contes à rire en vers', and on the other hand the inevitable subjectivity of subsequent attempts to establish a corpus on the basis of the dominant traits of self-designated fabliaux, Pearcy argues that the fabliau can be identified by the presence of an objectively recognizable text-internal feature: the comic manipulation of logical exchanges between protagonists. Although this feature is common to many comic narratives, Pearcy argues that it emerges in a particularly distinct way with the fabliaux, whose authors may even have been schooled in the very principles of logic via direct exposure to the trivium. Drawing on a Greimasian actantial model, whereas scholars such as Schenck and Siringo have previously favoured a Proppian morphological approach, Pearcy describes four possible epistemes, or sets of circumstances involving the alignment of subject- and object-actants in relation to their awareness of the existence of logical ambiguity in exchanges between them, of which one or more will be incorporated into a narreme which constitutes the fully resolved narrative. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.