Marguerite de Navarre Criticism - Essay

Jules Gelernt (essay date 1966)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “World of Many Loves: The Discussions,” in World of Many Loves: The Heptameron of Marguerite de Navarre, University of North Carolina Press, 1966, pp. 126-64.

[In the following essay, Gelernt describes the characters, issues and tone of the discussions following the stories of the Heptameron, and argues that Marguerite's conclusion considers wedlock “the best chance man has for happiness in this world.”]

At the root of Marguerite's investigation of love lies the assumption that love is in essence good and that it is the vagaries of human nature which can twist it to evil ends: in Saffredent's words, “tout ainsy que amour faict faire aux...

(The entire section is 13941 words.)

Marcel Tetel (essay date 1973)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Ambiguity or the Splintering of Truth,” in Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron: Themes, Language, and Structure, Duke University Press, 1973, pp. 104-49.

[In the essay that follows, Tetel claims that the Heptameron's structure reflects a dramatization of ambiguity.]

“Puis notre bouquet sera plus beau, tant plus il sera remply de différentes choses” (“XLVIII,” 271). There can be no doubt of the wide variety of novellas offered in the Heptameron on the sociological, ethical, and behavioral levels. In this vein, Marguerite emulates Boccaccio and prefigures Balzac; all three create their own version of the human comedy and...

(The entire section is 15918 words.)

Louis E. Auld (essay date 1976)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Music as Dramatic Device in the Secular Theater of Marguerite de Navarre,” in Renaissance Drama, new series VII, edited by Joel H. Kaplan, Northwestern University Press, 1976, pp. 193-217.

[In the following essay, Auld claims that the significance of Marguerite de Navarre's plays lies in part with her innovative dramatization of personal beliefs, and her use of music to lend emotional force to the abstract religious ideas she wishes to convey.]

Among the diverse literary production of Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, the seven dramatic poems grouped together as the Théâtre profane bear testimony to the flexibility and range of her spirit.1...

(The entire section is 8173 words.)

Ehsan Ahmed (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Regenerating Feminine Poetic Identity: Marguerite de Navarre's Song of the Peronelle,” in Romanic Review, Vol. 78, No. 2, 1987, pp. 165-76.

[In the essay that follows, Ahmed argues that Marguerite de Navarre rewrote a secular French song as a spiritual quest for unity with God, a quest which is specifically feminine.]

O Mutation délectable (v. 40)

Chanson spirituelle XXX

Marguerite de Navarre's place in the well-known French polemic of the late 1540's between the proponents of the national chanson form and those of the ode borrowed from Antiquity is not an evident one. She is mentioned neither in...

(The entire section is 5554 words.)

Paula Sommers (essay date 1989)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Introduction: The Celestial Ladder,” in Celestial Ladders: Readings in Marguerite de Navarre's Poetry of Spiritual Ascent, Librarie Droz, 1989, pp. 9-17.

[In the following essay, Sommers characterizes Marguerite's poetry as a delicate combination of mysticism and the instructional motif of the celestial ladder.]

“The mystic, as we have seen, makes it his life's aim to be transformed into the likeness of Him in whose image he was created. He loves to figure his path as a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, which must be climbed step by step.”

Wiliam Randolph Inge, Christian Mysticism...

(The entire section is 3527 words.)

Patricia Francis Cholakian (essay date 1991)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Rape?/Seduction?: Novellas 14, 16 and 18,” in Rape and Writing in the Heptaméron of Marguerite de Navarre, Southern Illinois University Press, 1991, pp. 117-28.

[In the essay that follows, Cholakian examines the complexity of establishing female desire in three of Marguerite's stories that turn on a rape or a seduction.]

Seduce, v.t. 1. to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; corrupt. 2. to persuade or induce to have sexual intercourse. 3. to lead or draw away, as from principles, faith, or allegiance: He was seduced by the prospect of gain. 4. to win over; attract; entice: a supermarket seducing...

(The entire section is 6466 words.)

Robert D. Cottrell (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Inmost Cravings: The Logic of Desire in the Heptameron,” in Critical Tales: New Studies of the Heptameron and Early Modern Culture, edited by John D. Lyons and Mary B. McKinley, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993, pp. 3-24.

[In the following essay, Cottrell argues that the Heptameron is guided by spiritual concerns, despite the explicitly worldly themes of the stories.]

“Nous sommes tous encloz en peché.”

—“Novella 26,” Heptameron

“Omnes peccaverunt.”

—Romans 3.23 (Vulgate)

...

(The entire section is 9418 words.)

Cathleen M. Bauschatz (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “‘Voylà, mes dames …’: Inscribed Women Listeners and Readers in the Heptameron,” in Critical Tales: New Studies of the Heptameron and Early Modern Culture, edited by John D. Lyons and Mary B. McKinley, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993, pp. 104-22.

[In the following essay, Bauschatz contends that the Heptameron is primarily directed at a female audience, and this intention is reflected in a disruption of the traditional narrative structure.]

Many critics of the Heptameron have appeared frustrated or baffled in their attempts to find a coherent and unified message in the book. Rather than reaching any sort of closure,...

(The entire section is 8812 words.)

Mary B. McKinley (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Telling Secrets: Sacramental Confession and Narrative Authority in the Heptameron,” in Critical Tales: New Studies of the Heptameron and Early Modern Culture, edited by John D. Lyons and Mary B. McKinley, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993, pp. 146-71.

[In the essay that follows, McKinley elaborates the connection between the institutional requirement of women's speech in confession and the increasing authority of that speech on the part of individual women in the Renaissance.]

Confession is to be made before the eyes of all in an open place, to prevent a rapacious wolf from sneaking into corners and causing unthinkably...

(The entire section is 11387 words.)

Judy Kem (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Sins of the Mother: Adultery, Lineage and Law in the Heptaméron,” in Heroic Virtue, Comic Infidelity: Reassessing Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron, edited by Dora E. Polachek, Hestia Press, 1993, pp. 51-9.

[In the following essay, Kem examines the diverse moral judgments regarding adultery made by the listeners in the Heptameron.]

At the end of “Novella 40” in Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron (1559), the devisants discuss the role that class distinctions play in marriage. Saffredent asks why it is wrong for a simple gentleman to marry a woman of the high nobility to which Dagoucin responds:

...

(The entire section is 3226 words.)

Patricia Francis Cholakian (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Heroic Infidelity: Novella 15,” in Heroic Virtue, Comic Infidelity: Reassessing Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron, edited by Dora E. Polachek, Hestia Press, 1993, pp. 62-76.

[In the essay that follows, Cholakian traces the tensions within Marguerite de Navarre's authorial voice and identifies a “feminine difference” in her retelling of traditional narratives.]

One of the questions raised by present-day debates about women and literature is that of what constitutes a feminine difference in women's writing. In teasing out an answer to this question in the Heptaméron, I want to use two approaches. The first is what Nancy K. Miller calls...

(The entire section is 5849 words.)

Jeffrey C. Persels (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “‘Qui sommes tous cassez du harnoys’ or, the Heptaméron and Uses of the Male Body,” in Heroic Virtue, Comic Infidelity: Reassessing Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron, edited by Dora E. Polachek, Hestia Press, 1993, pp. 90-102.

[In the following essay, Persels discusses Marguerite's challenge to the image of the aggressive and exaggeratedly virile male body.]

The Heptaméron offers discursive portraits of five men who represent the few possible variations on the theme of noble Early Modern masculinity, from the apparently uncompromising, ostentatious virility of Hircan to the ultimately misleading, Neo-Platonic “feminism” of...

(The entire section is 5021 words.)

Carla Freccero (essay date 1994)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Practicing Queer Philology with Marguerite de Navarre: Nationalism and the Castigation of Desire,” in Queering the Renaissance, edited by Jonathan Goldberg, Duke University Press, 1994, pp. 107-23.

[In the essay that follows, Freccero discusses the significance of a passing reference to Lucretia in the context of the Heptameron's depictions of marriage, desire and law.]

Every encounter with a representation of the rape of Lucretia is an encounter with a literary topos of Western civilization. And, as topos, the meaning of this rape is constructed as universal, transcending historical conditions: in every age and...

(The entire section is 7023 words.)

Timothy Hampton (essay date 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “On the Border: Geography, Gender and Narrative Form in the Heptaméron,” in Modern Language Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 4, December, 1996, pp. 517-44.

[In the following essay, Hampton reads the Heptameron as a reflection of the shifting political and ideological ground of the Renaissance.]

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.

—Caesar

STORIES AND THE STATE

The Heptaméron (1559) takes place on disputed territory. Marguerite de Navarre's prologue to her collection of framed tales focuses on the adventures of a group of aristocrats who have come to take the waters at Cauterets, in...

(The entire section is 11579 words.)