Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 6999
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Price , Paul.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: A Case of Gender Conflict Avoided? The Magnanimous Cuckold in the "Tale of Sir Corneus"
  • Source: Gender and Conflict in the Middle Ages. Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, York, January 5-7 2001.. 2001.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Cuckolds in Literature Literature- Verse Masculinity in Literature Sexuality in Literature Tale of Sir Corneus, Middle English Poem
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 15
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  • Abstract: The Tale of Sir Corneus is a little-known fifteenth-century work set in the court of King Arthur. King Arthur's favourite court amusement is poking fun at cuckolds through a magical instrument, the cuckold's horn: the horn spills wine over any cuckold who attempts to drink from it. Induced to drink from the horn himself, Arthur disovers that he is a cuckold, much to the embarrassment of a blushing Guinevere. In terms of the traditional gravity of Guinevere's adultery, Arthur's response is remarkably magnanimous. He merrily declares himself a brother of the cuckolds, he wears the cuckold's garland, dances the cuckold's dance, and even declares that he is grateful to his cuckolder for looking after his wife when he was away. This paper will pursue the folloing questions in relation to this curious work: to what extent is the moral of this tale, "We [cuckolds] be all of a freyry," a counter to the aggressive, bourgeois, proprietorial masculinity that so often features in medieval narratives of cuckoldry, Chaucer's Symkin being an example. Is the tale anti-femininst--we are all cuckolds because no woman can be faithful--or does it comically expose the one-eyed logic of such an agenda-- pointing out, rather, that we are all cuckolds because we are all cuckolders? [Reproduced by permission of Gender and Medieval Studies Conference organizers].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Bristol
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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