The Stereotype of the Priest in the Old French Fabliaux

Anticlerical Satire and Lay Identity

by Daron Burrows (Author)
©2005 Monographs 270 Pages


The Old French fabliaux may be notorious for their bawdy content, but few aspects of these medieval comic narratives are as astonishing as their depiction of the parish priest, whose fiscal and sexual transgressions are on occasion so enormous that lay protagonists are driven to inflict graphic punishments ranging from public exposure and communal beating to castration and murder. In this study, Burrows draws on social psychological research into the cognitive and socio-motivational components of stereotyping to explore the forces underlying the creation and development of the fabliau priest. Through an assessment of the constituent elements of the figure against a background of a range of literary and historical sources, Burrows demonstrates that the literary figure is the product of the specific socio-historical context of contemporaneous changes in relationships between Church and laity in which anticlerical stereotyping, in a manner comparable to other instances of outgroup derogation, can be attributed to a quest for positive social identity and ingroup solidarity on the part of an inscribed lay audience.


ISBN (Softcover)
Fablel Priester (Motiv) Stereotyp (Motiv) the ideal priest social psychology fabliaux anticlerical satire lay identity appearance /language literary stereotyping
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2005. 270 pp.

Biographical notes

Daron Burrows (Author)

The Author: Daron Burrows completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Trinity College, Oxford, before taking up his current post as Lecturer in French at the University of Manchester. His research centres on medieval French literature, with a particular emphasis on comic and satirical poetry, text editing, and manuscript studies.


Title: The Stereotype of the Priest in the Old French Fabliaux