The Fabliaux: A New Verse Translation

(Translator) (Introduction by)

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Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.2 X 2.0 X 7.8 inches | 2.05 pounds
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About the Author

Nathaniel E. Dubin is a professor emeritus of modern classical languages at the College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University in Minnesota.
R. Howard Bloch is chair of the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University. He is author of several books, including Medievalism and the Modernist Temper, cowritten with Stephen Nichols, and published by Johns Hopkins.


Devilishly bawdy and irreverent...The 69 fabliaux presented here in their original French and translated into rascally, buoyant English by Nathaniel E. Dubin, are relentlessly scabrous, egregiously misogynistic, and exuberantly oppositional to 'bourgeois respectability' and the church.... Vivid, funny, robustly grotesque, and drolly outrageous, these satirical tales of lust, revenge, and folly feature lecherous peasants, fornicating priests, scoundrels, fools, and women wily and tough, castigated and abused.... An historic literary achievement bound to arouse vociferous discussion.
The fabliaux, then, is a short story that is a tall story. It combines a burly blurting of dirty words with a reveling in humiliations that are good unclean fun. A popular venture that is keen to paste--épater--everybody (not just the bourgeoisie), it is the art of the single entendre. Highly staged low life, it guffaws at the pious, the prudish, and the priggish. High cockalorum versus high decorum.... The introduction here, like the translator's note, tells well the story of the comic tales, anonymous for the most part, usually two or three hundred lines long, of which about 160 exist.--Christopher Ricks
Fabliaux are comic tales, in verse, composed between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.... The words used...have not been adjusted to conform to modern immodesty; the translation is literal...[This is the] first substantial collection of fabliaux, in any language, for today's general reader.--Joan Acocella