The term conduct literature refers to texts instructing a reader in how to live a virtuous life. The simplicity of this definition belies the complexity of the genre, which can be defined in terms of both a text’s content and the reader’s strategies. While texts overtly directed toward instruction circulated throughout the Middle Ages, they became increasingly popular in the high to later Middle Ages, due to increased literacy, social mobility, and focus on cultivation of an interior self. The actual instruction of conduct books is fairly consistent, although conduct books do vary depending on audience – boys versus girls, nobility versus laity – and thus provide a sense of how different social categories were defined. Authors of conduct literature drew from a wide range of sources, including classical and Christian texts, and the length, form, and narrative strategies of conduct books are highly diverse. While scholars once viewed conduct literature as simple and straightforward, they now recognize its complexity, in terms of both narrative and rhetorical strategies and relationship to actual social practice. The story of Griselda in its various iterations is useful in assessing both what constitutes conduct literature and how it circulated and functioned in late medieval societies.