Antoine de La Sale Criticism - Essay

Erich Auerbach (essay date 1953)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Auerbach, Erich. “Madame du Chastel.” In Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, translated by Willard R. Trask, pp. 232-61. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1953.

[In the following essay, Auerbach studies Le réconfort de Madame du Fresne, comparing the work to the anonymous Les XV joies de mariage and finding the former composition to be more elevated and ceremonious than the latter work.]

Antoine de la Sale, a Provençal knight of the late feudal type, soldier, court official, tutor of princes, authority on heraldry and tournaments, was born about 1390 and died after 1461. For the greater part of his life...

(The entire section is 13765 words.)

Janet Ferrier (essay date 1954)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Ferrier, Janet. “An Experiment in Adaptation: Le Petit Jehan de Saintré.” In Forerunners of the French Novel: An Essay on the Development of the Nouvelle in the Late Middle Ages, pp. 54-78. Manchester, Eng.: Manchester University Press, 1954.

[In this essay, Ferrier characterizes Little John of Saintré as essentially an failed experiment, but defends the work's breaking with the traditional romance and chronicle genres. Ferrier praises La Sale's serious attempt at innovation in introducing the notion of a full-length fictional work.]

It is a curious fact that a work which has frequently been acclaimed as the first modern novel, and...

(The entire section is 7944 words.)

Patricia Francis Cholakian (essay date spring 1969)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Cholakian, Patricia Francis. “The Two Narrative Styles of A. de La Sale.” Romance Notes 10, no. 2 (spring 1969): 362-72.

[In the essay below, Cholakian, emphasizing the lack of unity in Little John of Saintré, and investigates La Sale's incorporation of the elements of two distinct genres—the novel and the didactic treatise—in the work.]


Every reader of Antoine de la Sale's Petit Jehan de Saintré must grapple with the lack of unity within the work. The second half of the novel, in which Belles Cousines makes love to a lusty abbot, seems a complete departure from the first, in which she has taken care to...

(The entire section is 3957 words.)

Clifton Cherpack (essay date fall 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Cherpack, Clifton. “Le Petit Jehan de Saintré: The Archetypal Background.” The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 5, no. 2 (fall 1975): 243-52.

[In the following essay, Cherpack evaluates the problem of unity in Little John of Saintré, averring that the archetypal stories at the core of the myths of Pygmalion and Prometheus inform the characterization and development of the work.]

The reasons why Le Petit Jehan de Saintré is the most studied French work of its day are not hard to identify. Works of doubtful attribution which, at the same time, seem to be romans à clef are bound to attract the attention of...

(The entire section is 4381 words.)

Thomas A. Vesce (essay date 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Vesce, Thomas A. “Notes on Antoine de La Sale's Réconfort de Mme du Fresne.Mediaeval Studies XXXVII (1975): 478-93.

[In the following essay, Vesce studies the way in which La Sale focuses on private, familial concerns rather than public and political matters in Le réconfort de Madame du Fresne. Vesce also highlights La Sale's facility in the realistic depiction of every day life.]


The scene which Antoine de la Sale draws in the first of the two tales in the Réconfort de Madame Du Fresne is one which is reminiscent of the old...

(The entire section is 6375 words.)

Guy Mermier (essay date spring 1977)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Mermier, Guy. “Antoine de La Sale's Le Petit Jehan de Saintré: A Study in Motivations.” Michigan Academician IX, no. 4 (spring 1977): 469-82.

[In the essay which follows, Mermier assesses the motivations of Belle Cousine and Saintré in an effort to better understand the nature of Little John of Saintré, claiming that the work's failure is due to Belle Cousine's failure in her education of Saintré.]

After a reading of Antoine de La Sale's Jehan de Saintré (1456), a multitude of questions arises. Why does Belle Cousine reject the young knight, and why does she allow herself to become enamored by Damp Abbé, this vulgar,...

(The entire section is 6239 words.)

Karl D. Uitti (essay date 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Uitti, Karl D. “Renewal and Undermining of Old French Romance: Jehan de Saintré.” In Romance: Generic Transformation from Chrétien de Troyes to Cervantes, edited by Kevin Brownlee and Marina Scordilis Brownlee, pp. 135-54. Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth College, 1985.

[In the following essay, Uitti examines the difficulty in classifying Little John of Saintré and contends that what some scholars view as the work's modernity is in actuality a faithful homage to the medieval literary tradition of restoring past events.]

The five centuries or so leading from the Old French Life of Saint Alexis to the completion of the prose narratives of...

(The entire section is 8860 words.)

Allison Kelly (essay date May 1986)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Kelly, Allison. “Abbreviation and Amplification: Jehan de Saintré's Rewriting the Artifice of History.” French Forum 11, no. 2 (May 1986): 133-50.

[In this essay, Kelly assesses Little John of Saintré as a commentary on Jean Froissart's Chronicles, focusing in particular on La Sale's treatment of Froissart's commendation of chivalry and his utilization of direct discourse.]

Ils sont bien des fumees sans feu, c'est a entendre que sont maintes faulses langues desliees de flacteurs a gecter les fumees sans feu, c'est a dire porter et rapporter faulses et mauvaises renommées a hommes et a femmes sans cause et contre...

(The entire section is 8726 words.)

Anne Caillaud (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Caillaud, Anne. “The Search for Power: A Female Quest in Antoine de la Sale's Petit Jehan de Saintré.” In Fifteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 24, edited by William C. McDonald, pp. 74-83. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1998.

[In the essay below, Caillaud analyzes the relationship between Belle Cousine and Saintré, demonstrating the ways in which the lady fails to adhere to the guidelines of courtly love as codified in Andreas Capellanus's twelfth-century treatise De amore.]

Courtly love is disturbing … it justifies and legitimizes adultery. It also places women in a position of supreme power. There are two unbearable transgressions...

(The entire section is 4870 words.)