An exemplum (Latin for "example", pl. exempla, "exempli gratia" = "for example", abbr.: "e.g.") is a moral
anecdote, brief or extended, real or fictitious, used to illustrate a point.
genresprang from the above, in classical, medieval and Renaissance literature, consisting of lives of famous figures, and using these (by emphasizing good or bad character traits) to make a moral point.
Collections of Exempla helped medieval preachers to adorn their
sermons, to emphasize moral conclusions or illustrate a point of doctrine. The subject matter could be taken from fables, folktales, legends or real history. Jacques de Vitry's book of exempla, c. 1200, was one of the most famous collections. Geoffrey Chaucer's " The Miller's Prologue and Tale" became a vivid satire on these collections and the abuse they found wherever they were just brought into monotonous litanies.
*Suetonius's "De vita Caesarum" or "
Lives of the Twelve Caesars"
*Jerome's "De viris illustribus"
*Petrarch's "De viris illustribus"
The Monk's Prologue and Tale", " The Pardoner's Tale" and " The Legend of Good Women"
On Famous Women" and " On the Fates of Illustrious Men"
*Christine de Pizan's "
The Book of the City of Ladies".
Mirror for Magistrates" by various Tudor authors
Three examples of exempla
"The Norton Anthology of Western Literature" includes three exempla (singular, "exemplum"), stories that illustrate a general principle or underscore a moral lesson: “The Two City Dwellers and the Country Man” and “The King’s Tailor’s Apprentice” (both from "The Scholar’s Guide") and “The Cursed Dancers of Colbeck.”
The Pardoner’s Tale” in Chaucer’s "The Canterbury Tales" is a longer example of an exemplum.
fathertells the first storyfrom "The Scholar’s Guide", and his sontells the second.
"The Two City Dwellers and the Country Man"
In “The Two City Dwellers and the Country Man,” told by the father, the three traveling companions of the tale’s
titleare on a pilgrimageto Mecca. Near their destination, their provisions are nearly depleted, and the two citydwellers attempt to cheat the country manby telling him that whoever of them dreams the most extraordinary dreamshall get the last of their bread.
As the city dwellers
sleep, the country man, alert to their intended deception, eats the half-baked bread before retiring.
The city dwellers relate their made-up dreams. One says he was taken to
heavenand led before Godby angels. The other says that angels escorted him to hell.
The country man says he dreamed the same things that his companions dreamed and, believing them to be forever lost, one to heaven and the other to hell, ate the bread.
The son tells his father the moral of the story: “As it says in the
proverb, ‘He who wanted all, lost all.’” He says that the two city dwellers got their just comeuppance. The story says that he wishes they’d been whipped, as the antagonist in another story he has heard, was beaten for his chicanery. His comment is a transition to the next tale, causing the father to ask his son to tell him this story. Thus, the roles of the father and his son are reversed, as the father, who was the storyteller, becomes the listener, and the son, who was his father’s audience, becomes the narrator.
"The King's Tailor's Apprentice"
The son’s story recounts the story of a king’s tailor’s assistant, a youth by the name of Nedui.
One day while he is away, his master gives the other apprentices bread and
honey, but does but save any for Nedui, telling them that Nedui “would not eat honey even if he were here.” Upon learning that he has been left out, Nedui avenges himself upon his master by telling the eunuchwhom the king has set over the apprentices as their supervisorthat the tailoris subject to seizures of madness, during which he becomes violent and dangerous. In fact, Nedui claims, he has killed those who have happened to be near him when he is in the grip of such a fit. To protect himself, Nedui says, he binds and beats the tailor when such a fit comes over him. He also tells the eunuch what to look for: “When you see him looking all around and feeling the floorwith his hands and getting up from his seat and picking up the chairon which he is seated, then you will know that he is mad, and if you do not protect yourself and your servants, he will beat you on the head with a club.”
The next day, Nedui hides the tailor’s shears, and, when the master, hunting for them, behaves as Nedui mentioned to the eunuch, the eunuch orders his servants to bind the tailor and beats him himself with a club. His servants also beat him until he is unconscious and “half dead.”
When he regains consciousness, the tailor asks the eunuch what
crimehe has committed to have deserved such a beating, and the eunuch tells him what Nedui told him about the tailor’s seizures. “Friend, when have you ever seen me crazy?” the master asks his apprentice, to which question he receives, from Nedui, the rejoinder: “When have you ever seen me refuse to eat honey?”
The father tells the son the
moralof the story: “The tailor deserved his punishment because if he had kept the precept of Moses, to love his brother as himself, this would not have happened to him.”
By having the listener tell the narrator the moral of the story, the storyteller shows that the narrative has successfully served its purpose as an exemplum, as the listener, hearing the story, shows that he is able to ascertain the moral that the tale is intended to express.
“The Cursed Dancers of Colbeck"
The third exemplum, “The Cursed Dancers of Colbeck,” is a prose, rather than a poetic, narrative. Like a mini-sermon, it preaches against wrong conduct--in this case, sacrilegious behavior. This tale has an identifiable author, Robert Mannyng,” who set down the story in the early fourteenth century. "The Norton Anthology"’s version is translated from
Middle Englishby Lee Patterson.
To bolster his listener’s
beliefthat “most of” his tale is “the gospel truth,” the narrator names the names of the culprits and their victims (both themselves and others) and cites no less an authority than Pope Leoas one who knows and wrote a version of the narrative and points out that the story is “known in the court at Rome” and has appeared widely in many chronicles, including those “beyond the sea.” However, after the telling of the tale, the storyteller admits that some doubt its veracity.
The story starts by identifying several activities that are not allowed in
churchor in the churchyard: “carols, wrestling, or summergames.” In addition, “interludes or singing, beating the tabor [a small drum] , or piping. . . . while the priestis conducting mass” are “forbidden” and sacrilegious, and “good priests” will not tolerate them.
It is also improper to dance in church, as the story that the narrator is about to tell demonstrates.
When “twelve fools” in Colbeck (or, as the editors’ note explains, “
Kolbigk, in Saxony, an area in eastern Germany, just north of the present-day Czech border) decided, one ChristmasEve, to make “a carol--madly, as a kind of challenge,” and persisted in singing and dancing in the churchyard while the priest was trying to conduct Mass, despite his entreaties to them to stop, the priest calls upon God to cursethem.
The singers’ carol contains three lines, the last of which appears to become the basis of their curse, as they are unable to leave the churchyard or to quit singing or dancing for a year after God curses them for their sacrilegious behavior:
:By the leafy wood rode Bovoline,:With him he led the fair Mersewine.:Why are we waiting? Why don’t we go?
As a result of the curse, not only can the dancers stop singing and dancing, but they cannot let go of one another’s hands.
The priest, too late, sends his son, Ayone, to rescue his daughter, Ave, who is one of the “twelve fools” involved in the dancing. However, due to the curse, when Ayone takes his sister’s
armto separate her from the other carolers, it detaches from her body. Miraculously, her wounddoes not bleed, nor does she die from it.
Ayone takes the arm to his father. The priest tries, three times unsuccessfully, to bury the limb, but the
gravecasts it back, so the priest displays it inside the church. Everyone, including the emperor, comes to see the cursed dancers, who, despite no rest, food, drink, or sleep, dance non-stop, nightand day, regardless of the temperatureor the weather. Several times, the emperor orders a covering to be built to protect the dancers from storms, but it is reduced to rubble overnight each time it is built or rebuilt.
yearhas ended, the curse is lifted, and the dancers fall down upon the ground, as if dead. Three days later, they arise--except for Ave, who has died. Soon after, the priest also dies. The emperor installs the container in the church as a receptacle for the dead girl’s arm, and it becomes a holy reliccommemorating the miracleof the curse.
The other dancers cannot get together again, ever, and must skip, instead of walking, wherever they go. Living mementoes of God’s curse against sacrilegious
behavior, they bear permanent physical changes to their clothingand their bodies: “Their clothes didn’t rot nor their nails grow; their hairdidn’t lengthen nor their complexionchange. Nor did they ever have relief. . . .”
Although some believe and others doubt the authenticity of the tale he’s told, the narrator says he recounted the story so that his listeners, taking heed, may be “afraid to carol in a church or churchyard, especially against the priest’s will,” as “jangling is a form of
*"The Norton Anthology of Western Literature", Volume I. Sarah Lawall (Gen. Ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006.
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Exemplum — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El exemplum, colección de exempla o ejemplario es un género didáctico literario cultivado en la Edad Media. Proviene de la palabra latina ejemplo. A partir del siglo XIII, el uso del exemplum se hizo masivo.… … Wikipedia Español
EXEMPLUM — Outre le sens habituel d’«exemple», le mot latin exemplum désigne une ressource de la rhétorique utile à qui veut susciter la persuasion. Aristote rapproche l’exemple, qui repose sur une inférence implicite, (raisonnement inductif) du syllogisme… … Encyclopédie Universelle
EXEMPLUM — EXEMPLUM, legend or anecdote from the lives of the sages to suggest emulation as instruction. In medieval Hebrew literature it is very difficult to distinguish between the legend and hagiography , historical fiction, and various kinds of fables.… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
exemplum — index cross section, duplicate, example, exemplar, illustration, instance, model, pattern, precedent … Law dictionary
EXEMPLUM — Gr. ἀντίγραφον, sicut Exemplar. ἀυτόγραφον, vide Salmas. de Modo Usurar. c. 1. Item, argumentum, figura. Unde marmora in exemplis, apud Anastas. in Leone III. h. e. exemplata, figurata viz. et imaginata: cuiusmodi exempla fiebant opere tesselato … Hofmann J. Lexicon universale
exemplum — ► NOUN (pl. exempla) ▪ an example or model, especially a moralizing or illustrative story. ORIGIN Latin … English terms dictionary
exemplum — [eg zem′pləm, igzem′pləm] n. pl. exempla [eg zem′plə] [L, EXAMPLE] 1. an example; illustration 2. a moralized tale or anecdote, esp. one included in a medieval sermon … English World dictionary
Exemplum — Un exemplum est un récit présenté comme véridique, inséré dans un discours pour en démontrer la valeur salutaire ou la valeur juridique (rhétorique codifiée par Quintilien). Dans le christianisme, les exemplums (ou exempla) sont des recueils de… … Wikipédia en Français
exemplum — (лат., мн.ч. exempla). 1. E.um, «пример» «короткое повествование, выдаваемое за истинное и предназначенное для того, чтобы быть включенным в какую либо речь (обычно проповедь), с целью убедить аудиторию с помощью спасительного… … Словарь средневековой культуры
Exemplum — Das Beispiel (lat. exemplum) wird in der Rhetorik meistens im Kontext von Beweisen und Argumenten behandelt. Für Quintilian ist das Exemplum ein der Rede zugefügter, veranschaulichender Beleg, oder auch „die Erwähnung eines zur Überzeugung von… … Deutsch Wikipedia