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Ch 3: Historical Precursors to the Short Story

About This Chapter

Learn about the historical precursors to the short story with this convenient literature chapter. These simple lessons and quizzes offer you a quick way to study important fables and fabliaus for exams, class assignments, essays or homework.

Historical Precursors to the Short Story - Chapter Summary

The fable and the fabliau were historical precursors to the modern short story. In this chapter, you'll take a look at famous examples of these story types, such as ''The Boy Who Cried Wolf'' and Chaucer's ''The Miller's Tale.'' You'll also examine the meaning behind the fable's use of anthropomorphized animals. You can work through the chapter at your own pace, and we've included short quizzes to help you retain the literary terms and concepts you study. If you need any extra help with the material, you can reach out to our instructors with your questions. When you're finished with the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Recognize the characteristics of the fable and the fabliau
  • Analyze the theme of ''The Boy Who Cried Wolf''
  • Define the concept of anthropomorphized animals
  • Evaluate Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales
  • Summarize and analyze Chaucer's ''The Nun's Priest's Tale,'' ''The Miller's Tale'' and ''The Wife of Bath''

11 Lessons in Chapter 3: Historical Precursors to the Short Story
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Fable in Literature: Definition & Examples

1. Fable in Literature: Definition & Examples

What do lions, tigers, and bears have to do with learning how to be a better human? Find out when you read this lesson on fables and look at a few examples of this ancient literary genre.

What Is Folklore? - Definition, Legends & Myths

2. What Is Folklore? - Definition, Legends & Myths

In this lesson, you will be introduced to the genre of folklore that includes legends and myths. Folklores are an integral part of all cultures. This lesson will provide a brief introduction folklores, their purpose, and examples.

What is a Fairy Tale? - Definition & Characters

3. What is a Fairy Tale? - Definition & Characters

Learn about the origins of fairy tales and what defines a fairy tale and sets it apart from a folk story. Find out about how fairy tales have changed over time and read about examples of wondrous elements and character transformation.

Setting of The Ant & the Grasshopper

4. Setting of The Ant & the Grasshopper

In this lesson, we'll explore how the setting of Aesop's fable 'The Ant and the Grasshopper' helps drive home the message of there being a time for work and a time for play. You'll also discover how the choice of animals plays a part in the setting.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Moral, Theme & Analysis

5. The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Moral, Theme & Analysis

This lesson introduces the story, themes, and moral lesson of Aesop's fable ''The Boy Who Cried Wolf.'' We'll discover the significance of the wolf, the boy's motivation, and the consequences of lying.

Anthropomorphized Animals: Meaning & Concept

6. Anthropomorphized Animals: Meaning & Concept

It's natural to assign human characteristics to animals. In this lesson, read about why writers anthropomorphize animals and the effects it has on us humans.

Introduction to Chaucer: Middle English and the Canterbury Tales

7. Introduction to Chaucer: Middle English and the Canterbury Tales

In this lesson, we'll introduce medieval writer Geoffrey Chaucer. We'll take a look at his life, his most famous works, including 'The Canterbury Tales,' and we'll spend some time learning how to read Middle English.

The Nun's Priest's Tale: The Beast Fable of the Canterbury Tales

8. The Nun's Priest's Tale: The Beast Fable of the Canterbury Tales

In this lesson, we'll go over the medieval beast fable genre and take a look at the Nun's Priest's Tale, one of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that is illustrative of the genre.

Fabliau: Definition & Examples from Chaucer

9. Fabliau: Definition & Examples from Chaucer

Who knew the French could be so lewd? In this lesson, we'll learn about the fabliau - those vulgar, funny, and oftentimes obscene stories which were popular in France during the Middle Ages. We'll look to 'The Canterbury Tales' for three great examples.

The Miller's Tale: Chaucer's Fabulous Fabliau

10. The Miller's Tale: Chaucer's Fabulous Fabliau

In this lesson we'll talk about the medieval genre of fabliau, which is full of wonderfully low-brow humor. We'll also discuss the plot of the Miller's Tale, a fabliau about a carpenter and his straying wife.

Chaucer's The Wife Of Bath: Summary & Analysis

11. Chaucer's The Wife Of Bath: Summary & Analysis

'The Wife of Bath's Tale' is one of the stories written by author Geoffrey Chaucer in 'The Canterbury Tales.' Learn more about 'The Wife of Bath's Tale' and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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