“Experience, though noon auctoritee
Were in this world, were right ynogh to me
To speke of wo that is in mariage;
… For, lordynges, sith I twelf yeer was of age,
5 Thonked be God, that is eterne on lyve,
Housbondes at chirche dore I have had fyve –
For I so ofte have ywedded bee –
And alle were worthy men in hir degree.
But me was toold, certeyn, nat longe agoon is,
10 That sith that Crist ne wente nevere but onis
To weddyng in the Cane of Galilee,
That by the same ensample, taughte he me,
That I ne sholde wedded be but ones.
Herkne eek, lo, which a sharpe word for the nones,
15 Biside a welle Jhesus, God and Man,
Spak in repreeve of the Samaritan.
“Thou hast yhad fyve housbondes,” quod he,
“And thilke man the which that hath now thee
Is noght thyn housbonde;” thus seyde he certeyn.
20 What that he mente ther by, I kan nat seyn;
But that I axe, why that the fifthe man
Was noon housbonde to the Samaritan?
How manye myghte she have in mariage?
Yet herde I nevere tellen in myn age
25 Upon this nombre diffinicioun.
Men may devyne, and glosen up and doun,
But wel I woot, expres, withoute lye,
God bad us for to wexe and multiplye;
That gentil text kan I wel understonde.
30 Eek wel I woot, he seyde, myn housbonde
Sholde lete fader and mooder, and take to me;
But of no nombre mencioun made he,
Of bigamye, or of octogamye;
Why sholde men speke of it vileynye?
The Wife of Bath, Prologue
Why indeed? This and many other questions related to the dangerous topic of gender we shall discuss at the upcoming EMREM meeting. If you would like to join in the debate just come along. All welcome. Tea and biscuits will be provided.
Wednesday, 16th of February
Room 103, Arts Building
University of Birmingham