restricted access ‘Remarque en toy telle marque’: Étienne Jodelle’s Parisian Inscriptions and Epitaphs in the French Wars of Religion

This article considers the various inscriptions and epitaphs written by Étienne Jodelle (1532–1573) during the French Wars of Religion. Jodelle asserted his identity as a Parisian with an urban poetics that inscribed a pro-Catholic and pro-royal narrative upon the city itself. He sought to make Paris a readable, royal, Catholic space through his inscriptions, particularly those he composed for the Croix de Gastine, a monument erected in 1569 to commemorate the execution of a family of Protestants on the rue Saint-Denis. However, Jodelle’s attempts to inscribe a narrative of royal power onto the city highlight the difficulty of creating such a narrative within the contested space of Paris at the end of the sixteenth century. The policies of oblivion of the Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (August 1570) led to the removal of the Croix de Gastine. However, despite the poet’s disappointment in these policies, he continued to make his work public through monumental writing in Paris. By means of this direct, material encounter with his public, Jodelle sought to preserve collective memory of royal power, appealing first and foremost to the minds of his readers in the hopes of leaving an inscription that would remain after its material source disappeared.