Tricksters and Pranksters

Roguery in French and German Literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance


This volume represents a contribution to comparative scholarship in Medieval and Renaissance studies in its investigation of the ingenious diversity of roguish practices found in Medieval and Renaissance literature and its recognition of the coherent normative function of tales of tricksters and pranksters. The wide variety of works analysed, from those forming part of the established canon of texts on undergraduate degree schemes to lesser-known works, makes the volume of interest to students and researchers alike.
The roguish behaviour of women, priests, foxes and outlaws and the knavery of Eulenspiegel and Panurge are used to illustrate how rituals of inversion and humiliation typical of the medieval carnival are reflected in literary accounts of trickery, and to question whether the restorative function attributed to carnival celebration is equally to be found in the intra-textual and extra-textual outcomes of trickery. This analysis is supported by studies into the trickster in mythology, sociological investigations into the role of disorder, Bakhtinian theories of carnival and the carnivalesque, and theories of black humour.

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"… this valuable contribution to our knowledge of the development of trickery and roguery in the pre-1600 literatures of France and Germany." - in: New Zealand Journal of French Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1 (2002)
"Insgesamt […] gelingt es Williams in angenehmer und durchaus lesenswerter Weise, wichtige Texte der Schelmen-tradition vorzustellen und kritisch zu diskutieren." - in: Arcadia, Band 36 (2001), Heft 2, pp. 382-384
"The book is admirably inclusive […] Each chapter carefully documents prevous relevant studies […] the writing is straightforward and the argument is easy to follow." - in: Speculum, April 2003, pp. 633-635
Women Tricksters
The Clergy and Trickery
Foxes and Trickery
Outlaws as Tricksters and Pranksters
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