Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society. Volume 24 (2012)
  • ISSN 0925-4757
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9951
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One of the most remarkable features of Dame Sirith is its high number of religious oaths. To begin with, I argue, by means of a close reading, that these oaths are purposely used by the poet to create an ironic contrast between the sacred ideals that the characters’ oaths invoke and the corrupt world they inhabit and create. I further bolster this claim by considering Dame Sirith in relation to two external factors – (1) its inclusion in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Digby 86 and (2) the interpretive history of its analogues. An examination of MS Digby 86 reveals first, that Dame Sirith’s ironic sensibility is consonant with the other comic works contained therein and second, that the Digby scribe-owner himself betrays a wry, ironic sensibility that would naturally have led him to include Dame Sirith in the manuscript. I conclude by showing how a closer consideration of oaths can deepen appreciation of Chaucerian and Old French fabliaux.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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