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De Bérangier au lonc cul

De Bérangier au lonc cul is a medieval French fabliau. There are two versions of the fabliau: one by Guerin and one anonymous. In summary, the story begins when a rich earl marries his daughter off to a "young peasant" and deems him a knight. The knight abandons the code of chivalry and lazes around for the first ten years of the marriage. When his wife, tired of his demeaning attitude and lazy nature, speaks of the greatness of the knights in her family, the husband decides to prove himself a worthy knight. He dresses in armor and goes into the forest on horseback. Once in the forest, he hangs his shield on the lowest branch of a tree and beats it until it looks as if it endured a great battle. The knight returns to his wife, shows her his bruised armor, and gloats about his victories. After a few trips into the forest, the wife begins to wonder why the knight himself is unscathed while his armor is in shambles. The next day, she suggests he take servants with him. When he refuses, the lady dresses in a full body suit of armor and follows him into the forest. When she sees him beating his own shield, she steps into sight and threatens to kill him for his dishonor to chivalry. The knight does not recognize his wife's voice. He begs for "pity" and offers to do anything to avoid conflict. His wife, disguised as a mighty knight, gives him the option of jousting her, in which he will surely die, or kissing her arse. Out of cowardice, the knight chooses to kiss her arse. She hops off her horse and pulls down her pants. While the knight should have recognized her female genitalia, he remarks that she has a long arse. Before she leaves, she tells him, "I'm Bérangier of the Long Ass, Who puts shame to the chickenhearted." The wife returns home and sleeps with a valiant knight. When her husband arrives from the forest, he rebukes her. However, that was his last demeaning remark to her. She tells him she met Bérangier and learned of her husband's cowardice. To protect his own name, the knight is forced to succumb to his wife's wishes. Her cleverness leads her to do as she pleased for the rest of her life, and her husband lives in shame.[1]

Gender Morals in BérangierEdit

The husband's initial antagonistic behavior cues the gender moral of the story: constantly demeaning a clever wife can be dangerous.[2] In order to find out her husband, the wife disguises herself as a knight who she calls “Berangier au lonc cul” [Bernagier of the long ass]. She follows her husband into the forest, and, upon seeing his foolish actions, “the roles are reversed”.[3] Whereas the woman previously had “[caught] the brunt of [her husband’s] bragging and insults,” seeing the “absolute farce” of his claims in the forest inspires her to become a “hard, driving force that will not only teach him a lesson but also will annihilate him in position as leader in the household”.[4] Upon the encounter with his wife, disguised as a valiant knight, the husband automatically reveals his cowardice and, out of terror, begs for mercy. His wife gives him an ultimatum: he can “jostez” [joust] and surely die or “vos me venroiz el cul baisier” [kiss her ass].[5] Without realizing the gravity of his decision, he yields the power in his marriage to his wife, reversing his position of power, when he refuses to fight the knight. In addition, he displays ignorance when he does not recognize her genitals; he merely thought the knight had “au lonc cul” [a long ass]. In an exploitation of his ignorant failure to recognize her female genitals,[6] the wife and the audience share pleasure in the fact she has duped her husband and the fact he will never know.[7] The story “draw[s] a conventional lesson about proper gender roles in marriage,” [8] which suggests the demeaning of a wife by a husband is not “proper.” Thus, the reversal of the gender roles in this story creates the gender moral.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Eichmann, Raymond. Cuckolds, Clerics, & Countrymen: Medieval French Fabliaux. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1982. Print.
  2. ^ Crocker, Holly. Comic Provocations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.
  3. ^ Eichmann, Raymond. Cuckolds, Clerics, & Countrymen: Medieval French Fabliaux. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1982. Print.
  4. ^ Eichmann, Raymond. Cuckolds, Clerics, & Countrymen: Medieval French Fabliaux. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1982. Print.
  5. ^ ichmann, Raymond. Cuckolds, Clerics, & Countrymen: Medieval French Fabliaux. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1982. Print.
  6. ^ Gaunt, Simon. Gender and Genre in medieval French Literature. New York: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1995.
  7. ^ Crocker, Holly. Comic Provocations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.
  8. ^ Crocker, Holly. Comic Provocations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.

LiteratureEdit

  • Bérengier, fabliau // Le livre Mignard, ou La fleur des fabliaux. Ed. Charles Malo. Paris, 1826. P. 82—93.
  • Gaunt, Simon. Gender and Genre in medieval French Literature. New York: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1995.
  • Crocker, Holly. Comic Provocations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.
  • Eichmann, Raymond. Cuckolds, Clerics, & Countrymen: Medieval French Fabliaux. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1982. Print.