This article explores the relationships between scandal and narrative in Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron. Scandal was a controversial and shifting keyword in the sixteenth century: the medieval secular connotations of socially reprehensible behaviour and outrage were still current, while Protestant discussions revived its biblical sense of the stumbling block in an individual's path to salvation. The Heptaméron contains both kinds of scandal. Its stories are socially scandalous in their plots of adultery, treachery, and hypocrisy, but the storytellers also probe the theological idea that such behaviour could be a spiritual snare or stumbling block, especially in relation to what is presented frequently as the false teaching of the Franciscans. This article traces the dynamics of scandal in the nouvelles and between the storytellers, and argues that stories about scandalous behaviour might themselves constitute a scandal to the unwary reader. The Heptaméron acknowledges this possibility, exploring both the narrative of scandal and the scandal of narrative and emphasizing the contagious power of both.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 350-363
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.