Subject of Desire
Petrarchan Poetics and the Female Voice in Louise Labe
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Purdue University Press
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Foreword: A Space of One's Own
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Deborah Lesko Baker's remarkable study of voice in Louise Lab� turns the first great poetess of the classical years of the French Renaissance into a moderne. Lab� is not a "modern" in the sense of the querelle of the following century, but a gendered subject, like everyone since time immemorial, ...
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The real impetus for turning my years of teaching and thinking about Louise Lab� into a book came thanks to my participation in an exciting seminar on early modern women's writing conducted by Ann Rosalind Jones at the Folger Library in 1992. The consistently enthusiastic engagement of my students with Lab�'s work ...
Note on Editions and Translations
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For the original texts of Louise Lab�, Petrarch, and Maurice Sc�ve, I have used the standard editions of Fran�ois Rigolot, Robert Durling, and I. D. McFarlane, respectively. The reader should note that the line references to Lab�'s Epistre refer to the disposition of the text as printed in Rigolot's edition; ...
Chapter One: Introduction
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This book on the writings of Louise Lab� is about assertions of artistic and erotic desire expressed within and against Renaissance literary authority and tradition.1 Lab� herself suggests the privileged status she accords to the notion of desire in the two critical statements quoted above, which frame the opening ...
Chapter Two: Entering the Literary Stage: The Epistre to Mademoiselle Cl�mence de Bourges, Lyonnai
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When Lab� published her complete works in 1555, she opened her volume with a startling dedicatory epistle addressed to a young noblewoman named Cl�mence de Bourges. Written to a female aristocrat by the leading female bourgeois figure in the scintillating literary scene of urban Lyons, this letter has increasingly ...
Chapter Three: From Polemics to Poetics: The D�bat de Folie et d'Amour
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The multileveled social and artistic concerns advanced in the Epistre and the sophistication of its rhetorical strategies reveal that Lab�'s rich and complex prose is far more than a mere formalistic accoutrement to her celebrated love poetry. The D�bat de Folie et d'Amour bears this idea out in a most powerful way. ...
Chapter Four: Loss and Legitimation: Lab�'s Elegiac Voice
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The opening to the world of Lab�'s poetry that the D�bat anticipates invites first a careful look at the way the author presents her personal lyric sequence. As Fran�ois Lecercle has pointed out, Lab�'s division of her elegies and sonnets into two discrete groups aligns her with a French tendency to classify collected poems ...
Chapter Five: Transcending Petrarchan Poetics: Lab�'s Sonnets and the Rebirth of the Lyric Speaker
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If Lab�'s elegies open and theorize a space within the Petrarchan poetic universe in which women's losses are explored and the voice of women's suffering is legitimated, her love sonnets expand the boundaries of this space by extending the dialogue of appropriation, resistance, and challenge already inaugurated between ...
Chapter Six: Conclusion
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In this detailed textual journey through Lab�'s collected works, I have attempted to analyze the dramatic creation and evolution of a female subjectivity and its embodiment in the female speaking voice of one key woman writer in early modem France. My readings have suggested that the development of female subjectivity ...
Appendix: English Translations
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Page Count: 266
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures
Series Editor Byline: Patricia Hart