Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549): Mother of the Renaissance by Rouben C. Cholakian

By Rouben C. Cholakian

Sister to the king of France, queen of Navarre, proficient author, non secular reformer, and purchaser of the arts--in her many jobs, Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549) was once some of the most very important figures of the French Renaissance. during this, the 1st significant biography in English, Patricia F. Cholakian and Rouben C. Cholakian draw on her writings to supply a brilliant portrait of Marguerite's private and non-private lifestyles. liberating her from the shadow of her brother François I, they realize her great impression on French politics and tradition, they usually problem traditional perspectives of her relatives relationships. The authors spotlight Marguerite's massive position in advancing the reason for non secular reform in France-her aid of vernacular translations of sacred works, her denunciation of ecclesiastical corruption, her founding of orphanages and hospitals, and her protection and security of persecuted reformists. Had this plucky and lively lady now not been sister to the king, she may probably have ended up on the stake. notwithstanding she remained a religious catholic, her theological poem Miroir de l'âme pécheresse , a magical summa of evangelical doctrine that was once viciously attacked via conservatives, continues to be to today a tremendous a part of the Protestant corpus. Marguerite, with her brother the king, used to be a key architect and animator of the subtle entertainments that turned the hallmark of the French courtroom. regularly wanting to motivate new rules, she supported some of the illustrious writers and thinkers of her time. in addition, uniquely for a queen, she was once herself a prolific poet, dramatist, and prose author and released a two-volume anthology of her works. In reassessing Marguerite's huge, immense oeuvre, the authors demonstrate the variety and caliber of her paintings past her well-known choice of stories, posthumously referred to as the Heptaméron . The Cholakians' groundbreaking interpreting of the wealthy physique of her paintings, which uncovers autobiographical parts formerly unrecognized by means of such a lot students, and their examine of her surviving correspondence painting a existence that totally justifies Marguerite's sobriquet, "Mother of the Renaissance."

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Neither rich nor powerful, he led an agreeable existence given over to hunting, feasting, concerts, and literary diversions. He divided his time between Romorantin, the family’s fortified castle in the Loire valley, and his favorite abode, a small château his father had built opposite the fortress of Lusignan in Cognac, where the Charente River, bordered by poplars, flows through peaceful fields. There, like his Milanese grandmother, Valentina Visconti, who had gathered a circle of poets around her, Charles presided over a small court, in some ways more Italian than French, attracting to the congenial setting a number of artists—the organist Imbert Chandelier; the illuminator Robinet Testard, who created for him some 400 miniatures to illustrate various of his Education of a Lady 3 manuscripts; and several men of letters, notably the Saint-Gelais brothers, Jean, who was to become official historian to the court of Louis XII, and Octavien, a poet.

By contrast, the storytellers of the Decameron are little more than talking stick figures. 9 Parlamente’s sometimes sardonic but often amusing and always psychologically perceptive observations and arguments in the heated discussions that engage the ten devisants reflect Marguerite’s own mature views (even as the thoughts of certain characters in some of the stories represent a younger Marguerite). In particular, it is Parlamente who most vigorously assumes the role of forthright and stern censor of male sexual mores.

What is more, she was highly intelligent. ” 0 Education of a Lady She was healthy, tall and well-proportioned, with a long neck and abundant hair, “straight as a dart and of immense dignity . . proud and magnificent” (Dorothy Mayer, The Great Regent, 4). Deeply devout, she often had herself painted in an attitude of prayer, and in these portraits, she has the pure, delicate features of a Flemish Madonna. Above all, she was noted for her cool rectitude and political acumen. Two generations later, Brantôme, who characterized her as vindictive and hypocritical, nevertheless had to concede that during her regency she had governed so wisely and virtuously that she deserved to be called “a great king of France” (Recueil des dames, 67).

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