Beast fable  

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Medieval literature

The Nun's Priest's Tale is one of The Canterbury Tales by the 14th century Middle English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. The 625-line tale of Chanticleer and the Fox is a beast fable and a mock epic, which may have existed before Chaucer, but was at the very least popularized by him.

The tale follows the monk's depressing accounts of despots and fallen heroes and, as well as sharing these themes, the tale also parodies them. It also has ideas in common with earlier tales with the marriage between Chanticleer and Pertelote echoing the domestic lives depicted in tales like Franklin's and The Tale of Melibee. These different themes help to unify several tales. The "Nun's Priest's Tale" offers a lively story from a previously almost invisible character.

Like many of the tales, the date Chanticleer was written cannot be fixed with any accuracy, although 1392 is a frequently considered date. Professor J Leslie Hotson of Harvard believed the work to be an allegory for the murder in 1397 of Thomas of Woodstock by Nicholas Colfox on behalf of Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk and the cause of the subsequent duel between Mowbray and Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) described by Froissart in his Chronicles and Shakespeare in Richard II. This suggests a date after the Parliamentary "outing" of Colfox. Chaucer based his adaptation on Del cok e del gupil, the work of the 12th century French poet Marie de France, and the 13th century French epic Le Roman de Renart.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Beast fable" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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