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Reviewed by:
  • Les Entrées royales à Paris de Marie d'Angleterre (1514) et Claude de France (1517)
  • Bernd Renner
Pierre Gringore . Les Entrées royales à Paris de Marie d'Angleterre (1514) et Claude de France (1517). Ed. Cynthia J. Brown. Textes litté raires franç ais 577. Geneva: Librairie Droz S. A., 2005. 360 pp. index. append. illus. gloss. bibl. CHF 52. ISBN: 2-600-01007-6.

The accounts of the royal entries into Paris by Marie d'Angleterre (1514) and Claude de France (1517) constitute the second volume of Cynthia J. Brown's critical edition of Pierre Gringore's Collected Works. Like the satirical writings from volume 1, Œuvres polémiques rédigées sous le règne de Louis XII (2003), these officially sanctioned texts are important cultural documents and reveal their author's political involvement as well as his literary and authorial concerns. The editor places the two events in their historical context by commenting on the tradition of royal entries in general and on those featuring queens in particular, a topic that has been neglected in recent scholarship. To this end the entries of Isabeau de Bavière (20 August 1389), Charlotte de Savoie (1 September 1467), and Anne de Bretagne (9 February 1492 and 19 November 1504) are analyzed. Anne's entries illustrate the development of these festive occasions into an increasingly political event, with the 1504 entry serving moreover as a model for the 1514 and 1517 celebrations; the first critical editions of these processions are presented in Appendices 1 and 2.

Pierre Gringore held a unique position, as he served as sole organizer, composer, most likely director, and chronicler of the "entry theaters": the allegorical spectacles or "mysteries" that were presented at predetermined stops — Porte Saint-Denis, Fontaine du Ponceau, Trinité, Porte aux Peintres, Église des Saints-Innocents, Chátelet, and Palais Royal — along the itinerary of the procession. [End Page 886] These stops were preceded by a crowning ceremony at the Église Saint-Denis and followed by another ceremony at Notre Dame as well as a banquet at the Palais Royal. The major modifications that Gringore brought to the entry theaters were a more personalized scenario (the queen's persona having frequently been neglected in favor of her husband on former occasions), political allusions (which gradually overshadowed the traditional religious bent of the spectacles), and more coherence between the narratives of the different stops (most spectacles actually stressing the fusion of political and spiritual topics). In general, the festivities thus conform to a tendency that particularly marked the early sixteenth century: a "politicization of the mass media," as the phenomenon has been called, and which is reflected not only in Gringore's writings but also in Lemaire de Belges's historiography and anonymous texts such as the Sotise à huit personnaiges, recently edited by O. A. Duhl (TLF 573).

Gringore's preoccupation with authorial rights is strongly reflected in his accounts. He was the first French writer to obtain the privilege to sell and distribute his books (1505), which helps explain his outrage at the anonymous accounts of the 1514 and 1517 entries. He did not only want to protect his literary and intellectual property for financial reasons, however, but also tried to defend his artistic creations against the numerous inaccuracies, omissions, mistakes, and erroneous interpretations of the entry theaters that were disseminated in these anonymous accounts. Appendices 4 and 5 collect a number of the anonymous texts chronicling Claude de France's entry and document the various discrepancies that Gringore criticized. In dedicating his official versions to the respective queens, adding rich illustrations of the entry theaters to his text, and, in 1517, inscribing his name in the dedicatory poem, he tried to underline the legitimacy of his undertaking. Despite the laudable nature of such measures, one should not underestimate the element of self-promotion, however. Gringore's chronicles, especially the 1514 account, were almost exclusively centered on a description of his artistic creations, the entry theaters, and neglected the other aspects of the ceremony. He therefore ends up putting himself at the center of the text instead of the queen.

This well-documented edition is completed by nineteen illustrations of the entry...


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pp. 886-887
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Archived 2009
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