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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 1623: Cooking and Eating in The Canterbury Tales, II

Thursday 7 July 2016, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Huriye Reis, Department of English Language & Literature, Hacettepe University, Turkey
Paper 1623-a'To eten of the smale peres grene': Food in Chaucer's Fabliaux
(Language: English)
Azime Pekşen Yakar, / Department of English Language & Literature, Atilim University, Turkey
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Sexuality
Paper 1623-bHeavy Eating, Meat Consumption, and the Manliness of Chaucer's Monk
(Language: English)
Burçin Erol, Department of English Language & Literature, Hacettepe University, Ankara
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Social History

Paper -a:
This paper analyses Chaucer's use of food as sexual metaphors in the carnal universe of the fabliaux in which sex plays an essential part of the fabliau dynamics that include a love triangle in which woman pursues her sexual adventures and betrays her husband. Food is associated with woman's sexual escapades in a positive way denoting woman's sexual power while other representations of food reveal husband's unsuccessful effort to satisfy his young wife sexually. Thus, it implicitly reflects his impotency because of old age. Hence, Chaucer employs representations of food as a powerful agent to lay bare the power struggle between wife and husband with regard to their sexual activities in his fabliaux.

Paper -b:
The eating habits, meat consumption, and the heavy eating of the Monk in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales have been regarded as an indication of gluttony according to the Christian monastic food culture. However, if these characteristics are interpreted in keeping with the Germanic and Celtic food culture they imply positive values indicating power, superiority over others (physical, economic, and social) and membership of aristocracy. All the food references in the portrait of the Monk are to meat, which is an indicator of power and dominance and comply with the monks 'mastery', 'manliness' and 'ability' as well as his robust physique, implying his upper class origins and power.