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'That it had been to late for to crie': Rape and Patriarchy in Middle English Texts

Tuesday 21 April 2015, 5.30PM

Speaker(s): Rachel Moss (Corpus Christi College, Oxford & CML)

Rachel is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and a Centre for Medieval Studies PhD graduate.

Chaucer’s The Reeve’s Tale is a frenetic fabliau, filled with slapstick and bawdy comedy. It is also a story about rape. Many readers have denied that the miller’s daughter and wife are both sexually assaulted, claiming evidence of their pleasure or at least capitulation. In this paper, I will argue that Chaucer follows a well-established tradition of using rape as a punchline in fabliaux, where disorder is paradoxically used to restore patriarchal norms, and will illustrate this with a discussion of Middle English texts, including the romance Sir Degare.

There will be a wine reception after the seminar, in KG/84.

Location: KG/33, King's Manor, Exhibition Square, York