Medieval LOLs: Dame Syrith

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley

As Mary and Irina discussed in the previous episode of Medieval LOLs, fabliaux had an enormous influence on Chaucer, but outside of his work, only one survives in Middle English. Dame Syrith, a story of lust, deception and a mustard-eating dog, is medieval humour at its silliest and most troubling. Mary and Irina explore the surprising representations of old women, magic and consent in fabliaux, the poem’s possible role as a pedagogical tool, and medieval audiences’ love for the procuress trope.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences