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  • La Poésie de la Pléiade: héritage, influences, transmission. Mélanges offerts au Professeur Isamu Takata par ses collègues et ses amis
  • Jonathan Patterson
La Poésie de la Pléiade: héritage, influences, transmission. Mélanges offerts au Professeur Isamu Takata par ses collègues et ses amis. Edited by Yvonne Bellenger, Jean CÉard, and Marie-Claire Thomine-Bichard. (Rencontres, 1). Paris: Éditions Classiques Garnier, 2009. 437 pp. Pb €68.00.

This Festschrift honours the recently retired Professor Isamu Takata, a distinguished Ronsard scholar in Japan. It comprises nineteen articles by leading specialists on the poetry of the Pléiade. Fittingly, most focus on Ronsard; nevertheless, illuminating material may also be found on Du Bellay, Belleau, and Baïf. The editors have arranged contributions according to a sensible, if unoriginal, tack: a tripartite division of 'sources', 'la Pléiade en son temps', and 'après la Pléiade'. This framework owes much to Claude Faisant's seminal work Mort et résurrection de la Pléiade(1998). Many of the contributors subsequently draw on Faisant. The first section starts strongly with Frank Lestringant's lively analysis of the 'shipwreck with spectator' topos in Ronsard. Lestringant sharply traces, à la Blumenberg, Ronsard's diverse handling of the Lucretian motif, with well-chosen examples from the Hymnes, the 'Sonnet à Marguerite de Savoie', and the Responce aux injures. The following four articles are noteworthy for their weighty erudition, as they examine ancient and (early) modern sources of Belleau, Jodelle, and Ronsard. Philip Ford and Luigia Zilli each consider familiar themes through less familiar figures: Neoplatonism via Marc-Antoine Muret (Ford) and the innamoramento via Amadis Jamyn (Zilli). Section 2 is somewhat less coherent. It is subdivided into 'échos' and 'influences', but the distinction here remains ambiguous since authors use the terms interchangeably. The scope is ambitious, covering a range of reactions to Pléiade poetry, from the [End Page 480] adulatory to the moderately enthusiastic. Geneviève and Guy Demerson's dense contribution highlights the importance of humanists in the Low Countries in corroborating the glory of the Pléiade (and of the French nation) through the medium of neo-Latin. Josiane Rieu takes up the 'échos' motif convincingly: through careful readings of Pierre de Croix she pinpoints how the latter exploits the polysemy of certain Ronsardian images for religious ends. These readings reveal a 'baroque' fascination with anamorphosis, following Christine Poletto's Art et pouvoir à l'âge baroque(1990) and Michèle Clément's Une poétique de crise (1996). The final section, an appraisal of the Pléiade's fortunes up to the present day, is the most likely to have broader appeal beyond seiziémistes. François Rouget and Marie-Claire Thomine-Bichard both raise interesting points of book history in their respective analyses of Nicolas Richelet's 1623 edition of Ronsard's Œuvres, and of Marie de Gournay's 'Remerciement au Roy' (1624). Rouget nicely illustrates the increasing necessity for commentary as editors strove to promote Ronsard among a public who risked being alienated by the poet's learned allusions. Thomine-Bichard sheds new light on Gournay's editorial strategies, arguing that she inserted and reworked Ronsard's 'Harangue de François de Guise' into her 'Remerciement' to show that prosaic eloquence — the mainstay of Malherbe — already existed in Ronsard. Yvonne Bellenger's closing article is strikingly original, taking us into the realm of sociolinguistics as she unearths a number of Du Bellay-isms (défense et illustration etc.) that now flourish in unusual contexts on the Internet — from the Israeli army to salad! A novel end to a volume that will be useful for students and specialists, but primarily the latter.

Jonathan Patterson
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge


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