Chaucer’s Funny Rape: Addressing a Taboo in Medieval Studies

Rachel E. Moss

[TW: rape, sexual assault, victim-blaming.]

Rape is funny.

That’s the kind of first sentence that might get me some immediate unfollows from impatient readers, but bear with me; I trust if you’ve been reading my work for a while, you’ll know that’s an introduction, not a conclusion. I’ve been thinking about this post on and off since the International Medieval Congress in Leeds this July, but I couldn’t work out how to quite put what I wanted to say into words. I haven’t managed this time, either, but perhaps this may mark a start in a conversation I think we need to have.

Lately in the popular and geek media there has been a great deal of discussion about whether or not it’s ok for comedians to make jokes about rape and whether feminists are too “sensitive” for reacting negatively to said jokes. On the FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!1! side, the…

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