What the monk’s habit hides: Excavating the silent truths in marguerite de navarre’s heptaméron 31

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In Heptaméron 31, Marguerite de Navarre portrays a lascivious “Cordelier” or Franciscan who takes over a matron’s household during her husband’s absence, kills her servants, and disguises the woman as a monk before abducting her. Despite its surface resemblance to Rutebeuf’s “Frère Denise,” which also unveils a Franciscan’s lechery, Marguerite’s narrative is not a simple anticlerical satire. Within it we find a critique of the over-trusting husband, metaphors of censorship, an inquest into the dialectics of silence and (in)sight, a foregrounding of the victims’ body language, and analogies between the body politic and the body of the family. With these tools Marguerite folds into her nouvelle an allegory of reading a cautionary tale about the dangers of mistaking outward “works” for true godliness and an histoire tragique with political overtones that figure a crisis of authority between Reform theology’s “two kingdoms,” or secular and sacred governance, in sixteenth-century France.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-92
Number of pages40
JournalRenaissance and Reformation
Volume38
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Philosophy
  • Music
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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