Boccaccio's Fabliaux: Medieval Short Stories and the Function of Reversal

By Katherine A. Brown | Go to book overview

2
The Fabliaux in Context

BNF fr. 2173

Damedex douna le povoir
Home de faire son voloir,
Bien ou mal lequel qui li plest.

[The Lord God gave man the power to do his
will, good or bad, whichever pleased him.]

IMAGE DU MONDE

In order to clarify the role of the fabliaux within the larger structure of manuscript anthologies, in this chapter I will examine the inner workings of a single and complete codex: BNF fr. 2173 (MS K).1 Reciprocally, an intertextual consideration of the works in this codex will furnish a more comprehensive view of the structural preoccupations and organizing principles of an anthology from the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century.

The choice of a codex was based in large measure on practical criteria. Codices with too few fabliaux, fewer than three, do not offer enough examples of the interrelation between fabliaux and other kinds of texts, nor do they adequately represent the variety of the fabliaux. Another consideration was the condition of the manuscript, since incomplete versions and fragments compromised intertextual and intergeneric considerations. Tere are approximately seventeen manuscripts that meet these conditions: MSS A through O, MS T, and MS l. Although the use of different hands does not necessarily indicate that a manuscript was assembled over time without thought to an overarching structure, manuscripts copied by one scribe, presumably at one time, are more cohesive, and consequently I favored them in choosing a codex. Among these, the strong generic connections between fables and fabliaux—two types of works that share a common etymology—dictated the

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Boccaccio's Fabliaux: Medieval Short Stories and the Function of Reversal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Fabliaux Reversals and la Grue 10
  • 2 - The Fabliaux in Context 46
  • 3 - Medieval Story Collections and Framing Devices 84
  • 4 - Boccaccio’s Fabliaux Transmission and Transformation of the Fabliaux to the Decameron 125
  • Conclusion 163
  • Appendix 169
  • Notes 173
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 221
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