fabliaux

fabliau

[fab-lee-oh; Fr. fa-blee-oh]
or fableau

Short metrical tale made popular in medieval France by jongleurs. Fabliaux were characterized by vivid detail and realistic observation and were usually comic, coarse, and cynical, especially in their treatment of women. Though understandable to the bourgeois and common people, they frequently contain an element of burlesque that depends for its appreciation on considerable knowledge of courtly society, love, and manners. About 150 fabliaux survive, by both amateur and professional writers.

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