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B o o k R e v ie w s parties du discours et la syntaxe de ce langage (p. ix) en se servant—d ’une façon persuasive, je dois l’avouer—des procédés de critiques modernes (Lacan, Foucault). Si la lecture en est parfois ardue, cela ne provient jamais de l’emploi d ’un vocabulaire ésotérique mais bien de la profondeur de la pensée et du caractère peu commun de l’expérience mystique. Tout lecteur sera reconnaissant à Robert D. Cottrell de lui avoir fait mieux connaître l’œuvre de Marguerite de Navarre mais aussi et surtout de lui a permis d’entrevoir, à travers des mots humains, la transcendance du Verbe divin. M i c h e l D a s s o n v i l l e University o f Texas at Austin Régine Reynoids-Cornell. W i t n e s s i n g a n E r a . G e o r g e t t e d e M o n t e n a y a n d t h e “ E m b lè m e s o u D e v i s e s C h r e s t i e n n e s . ” Birmingham, AL: Summa Publications, 1987. Pp. xii + 127. A Protestant poet and member of the court of Jeanne d ’Albret, Georgette de Montenay played a small, but not uninteresting role in French culture of the second half of the six­ teenth century. She tells us hers were the first “ Christian emblems,” but if we except the rather anomalous case of Scève’s Délie, her collection was also the first in France to have a single, unifying theme and the motto engraved within the illustration. It was the first too to make extensive use of the heart motif so pervasive in 17th-century religious emblems. These innovations together with the book’s copperplate illustrations signal a shift in the concep­ tion and production of the emblem book in France. Professor Reynoids-Cornell has given us the first monograph on this historically impor­ tant emblematist, and indeed the first 20th-century monograph on any French emblematist of the 16th century. In it, she studies Montenay’s life, bringing into evidence several new details, and she also examines the emblems individually against a background of evan­ gelical theology, mainly from the first half of the century, following her hypothesis of the influence of Lefèvre d’Etaples and Roussel upon this poet. In an “ Analytical Table of the Emblems,” she identifies many biblical references, describes the emblem illustrations and gives a synopsis of each text, often repeating material found in the study of the emblems. Unfortunately, the study is flawed by poorly supported speculation on the allusions to historical persons or events, and is badly served by the hypothesis that the emblems follow some narrative or historical ordering. Naturally, in a book dedicated to Jeanne d’Albret, it may be reasonably assumed that its author was neither indifferent to, nor uninfluenced by, the tumultuous events surrounding the court of the Queen of Navarre. But the texts are general in nature, and do not seem to contain many clear allusions to particular events or persons. More serious, there are, from time to time, errors of fact: despite what Stegmann has said, Alciato never spoke of an “ emblema triplex” (p. 2) and the author has confused the first two French translations of Alciato when she gives 1549 as the date of Le Fèvre’s 1536 translation (p. 28). In the long central chapter, “ Parallels and Influences,” there is, surprisingly, no ref­ erence to emblem books other than a very cursory and not very accurate account of the development of Alciato’s collection, even though several of Montenay’s motifs were used interestingly, if to different effect, in other emblem books. For example, in emblem 25 we see a nun holding her tongue in front of her while her heart is on a string behind her back. This motif derives ultimately from the Franciscan sermon tradition, and was used by La Vol. XXVIII, No. 2 101 Book Review...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 101-102
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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