Abstract

This article argues that the early fourteenth-century fabliau ‘Les Trois Dames de Paris’ invites the reader to map its temporal moment and topographical locations in historical space and time, but also that this invitation is frustrated by the events and displacements represented in the story. The subversion of potentially mappable urban topography mirrors the moral straying of the three eponymous women, who set out over the course of the narrative to have a private feast, which descends into an orgy of drunken excess. As the women become increasingly inebriated, their subjective disorientation allows further social and spatial transgression, briefly interrupted by unconsciousness and burial, but finally culminating in their resurgence, seemingly as possessed corpses, into public space. Each of these events represents the women’s resistance to social norms, yet in the end their illusory freedom dissolves along with their intoxication, and the fabliau makes their transgression a subject of ridicule.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 145-158
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-11
Open Access
No
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