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Title: Female exemplarity in Pierre Boaisuau and François de Belleforest's Histoires tragiques and Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron
Author: Bromilow, P. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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This PhD thesis uses close textual analysis to examine the presentation of examples to women in two French Renaissance short prose narrative collections. It explores and contrasts the way that moral and illustrative examples are presented by a male- and female-authored text. Extending earlier scholarship, I argue that female exemplarity is not identical to or symmetrical to male exemplarity, but has its own models and means of propagating them. Furthermore, the sex of the author, the sex of the reader and genre are all significant factors in female exemplarity. The thesis is divided into six chapters; two of which serve as introduction to female exemplarity in each of the texts and the remaining four examine key aspects of it in both texts. Chapters One and Two discuss female exemplarity in each of the works, taking into account factors such as the dedications of the texts, the address to the female reader, the composition of the readership and issues relating to gender and genre. Chapter Three focuses on truth and history, which are essential conditions for storytelling in both of the collections. In the Histoires tragiques, these notions are clearly shown to be male-dominated concerns that consistently exclude women, which strongly contrasts to the representation of the female protagonist as false. I compare this to Marguerite de Navarre's distancing of ancient history and overt questioning of the value of truth. In the Heptaméron, truth is rarely established outright and this subverting of convention is consistent with the work's atypically in other respects. Memory is ever-present in female exemplarity, and in Chapter Four I demonstrate that Boaistuau and Belleforest represent memory as a fixed and static site, which is accessible to both (male) reader and (male) author and frequently works to contain and control the female protagonist. In the Heptaméron, on the other hand, the representation of the text as orally transmitted, the omnipresence of oubly (forgetting) and the use of images which can change and evolve liberates memory from male tradition and highlights the potential for women's contribution to it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available