Rape and Writing in the Heptaméron of Marguerite de Navarre

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SIU Press, 1991 - Literary Collections - 301 pages
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Marguerite de Navarre (1492–1549), the sister of the French king François I, composed the Heptaméron as a complex collection of seventy-two novellas, creating one of the first examples of realistic, psychological fiction in French literature. These novellas, framed by debates among ten storytellers, all noble lords and ladies, reveal the author’s desire to depart from the purely masculine voice of the age.

Cholakian contends that this Renaissance text is characterized by feminine writing. She reads the text as the product of the author’s personal experience. Beginning her study with the rape narrative in the autobiographical novella 4, she examines how the Heptaméron interacts with male literary traditions and narrative conventions about gender relations. She analyzes such words as rape, and honor, noting how they are defined differently by men and women and how these differences in perception affect the development of both plot and character.

 

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Contents

Signs of the Feminine I
1
A View from Elsewhere
20
Reforming the Circle
32
Framing the Evidence
41
Old Chestnuts
65
Death and Transfiguration
79
From Fact to Fiction
88
The Cloaca
105
Desire and the Victim
129
Voiceover
139
Rape and Religious Reform
158
Sublimation as Subversion
182
The Woman in the Mirror
207
Notes
223
Selected Bibliography
282
Index
295

Rape?Seduction?
117

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About the author (1991)

Patricia Francis Cholakian is associate professor of French at Hamilton College.

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