Material Culture and Metaphysics in the Heptameron and Evangelical Narrative
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Purdue University Press
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First and foremost, I would like to thank the Reverend Joseph McShane, Society of Jesus, President of Fordham University. When he hired me years ago, Father McShane asked what I, as an Episcopal woman scholar of sixteenth-century French, was going to offer to the Jesuit culture at Fordham. I volunteered...
Introduction: Objects of Desire: Reading the Material World Metaphysically in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron
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The early years of the sixteenth century were rich and complex, a time of extravagance, costuming, and courtly masques coupled with skepticism about worldliness due to theological reform movements.1 Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron participates in this complexity:2 a collection of tales about often...
Chapter One: Telling Tableaux and Textual Resurrections: Marguerite de Navarre and the Evangelical Narrative
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The Greek word for gospel, evangelion, derives from the same root as that of “gossip.”1 Telling stories to narrate the Christian experience is thus both a theological and literary technique, and, appropriately, personal witnessing combined with scriptural references, metaphors, and anecdotes typifies...
Chapter Two: Evangelical Dimensions in Decorative Arts: Emblems, Earthly Objects, and the Economy of Transcendence
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Marguerite develops a hybrid narrative form in the Heptam�ron by incorporating representations of material culture. Although Scripture labels such objects untrustworthy and illusory, earthly treasures, in the form of art objects and emblems, are very much in evidence in the nouvelles. However, this focus on...
Chapter Three: A New Medium for a New Message: Evangelicals and Decorative Arts
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The presence of Lutheran theology in France during the 1520s and 1530s influenced Marguerite to develop an evangelical narrative. This new narrative form also encompassed certain trends in contemporary decorative and fine arts.1 Art historians recognize that “Fontainebleau was truly a school for the new culture...
Chapter Four: Of Tableware, Chalices, and Axeheads: The Evangelical Narrative and Transitory Treasures
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The evangelical writer explicates characters and relationships in reference to things of the world; however, narrative problems arise from their presence, because the evangelical author remains ambivalent about objects, and cultivates an attitude of distrust about them. Charles Taylor explains the evangelical attitude...
Chapter Five: The Evangelical Narrative: Des P�riers, Du Fail, and Yver
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Other evangelicals1 used strategies similar to those that Marguerite de Navarre devised in the Heptaméron. Bonaventure Des Périers, secretary to Marguerite de Navarre, shared her evangelical sympathies.2 His Cymbalum mundi was condemned by the Sorbonne in 1537 for “impieties.” In this and in...
Chapter Six: Earthly Treasures: Marguerite’s Mondain Monstrances
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With the exception of theological applications, Randle Cotgrave’s above definition of monstre enumerates the uses that Marguerite finds for objects in the Heptaméron. The definition also implicitly suggests ways in which her evangelical distrust of those things has developed. Its several categories all relate to...
Chapter Seven: Costuming the Christiform Text; Or, L’habit ne fait pas le moine
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Guillaume Briçonnet, Marguerite’s confessor, urged her to strip off her gloves, to remove the material obstruction to her metaphysical self-alignment.1 His statement may have suggested a model for how Marguerite uses objects in the Heptaméron: the literary texture of the nouvelles is always woven from things of...
Chapter Eight: Interior Decoration and External Trappings: Space for the Spirit
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Exterior spaces (gardens, forests, bordered alleys, streets), buildings (castles, prisons, churches, monasteries), and interior spaces (bedchambers, salons, closets) play narrative roles in the nouvelles. Their decorative schemes (composed of tapestries, rugs, clothes chests, beds, tables) are also significant. Such objects...
Conclusion: From Self to Soul: Treasures of the Heart
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The eventual eschatological transformation of materiality manifests itself progressively as the earlier nouvelles of the Heptam�ron, saturated with objects, are replaced in the text by a different sort of object in Books Six and Seven; more explicitly associated with economy, accounting, profit, and commercial...
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Page Count: 270
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures
Series Editor Byline: Patricia Hart