In Indecent Exposure, Nicole Nolan Sidhu makes the case for recognizing "a widespread medieval discourse" of obscene comedy that can be identified in works spanning languages, media, geographies, and centuries. Although deeply rooted in the fabliau tradition, what makes obscene comedy an identifiable, wide-ranging discourse responds to its transmediality, for it appears in a variety of other media contexts, such as manuscript marginalia and misericords, not a single media or literary genre. This discourse, largely absent from England until the late fourteenth century, subsequently flourishes in the hands of Langland, Chaucer, and their fifteenth-century followers, whose innovative approaches to obscene comedy, Sidhu argues, allow them engage in political discourse by issuing "critiques of established powers that would have been too dangerous to air in other, less abject, discourses" (14). In the current moment, characterized by prominence of obscenity in American political discourse and the use of satirical comedy as the most widespread form of political critique, Sidhu's analysis of the workings of obscene comedy is timely indeed.


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pp. 167-170
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