Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549), also known as Marguerite of Angouleme and Margaret of Navarre, was the queen consort of King Henry II of Navarre. As patron of humanists and reformers, and as an author in her own right, she was an outstanding figure of the French Renaissance. Samuel Putnam called her "The First Modern Woman". Marguerite wrote many poems and plays and the classic collection of stories, the Heptameron. The collection first appeared in print in 1558 under the title Histoires des Amans Fortunez edited by Pierre Boaistuau. The Heptameron is a collection of 72 short stories in the form of a frame narrative and was inspired by the Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio. It was originally intended to contain one hundred stories covering ten days just as the Decameron does but at Marguerite's death it was only completed as far as the second story of the eighth day. As a generous patron of the arts, Marguerite befriended and protected many artists and writers, among them Francois Rabelais (1483-1553), Clement Marot (1496-1544), and Pierre de Ronsard (1524-85); also, Marguerite was mediator between Roman Catholics and Protestants (including John Calvin).
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B&R Samizdat Express
March 05, 2009
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