Poetry and fable : studies in mythological narrative in sixteenth-century France


Poetry and fable : studies in mythological narrative in sixteenth-century France

Ann Moss

(Cambridge studies in French)

Cambridge University Press, 1984

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Bibliography: p. 174-180

Includes index



This book is a major study of the development of French poetry in the Renaissance, which examines changes in style and vision by looking both at how poetry was read in this period and how it was written. Dr Moss examines vernacular versions of fables from Ovid's Metamorphoses, published between the end of the fifteenth century and beginning of the seventeenth century, which reveal fundamental changes both in reading habits and in assumptions about literary aesthetics and the relationship of literature to truth. Through detailed analysis of mythological narratives in the Ovidian tradition composed by Lemaire de Beiges, Francois Habert, Baif and Ronsard, among others, and by concentrating on a few specific mythological subjects Dr Moss is able to identify the salient features in these developments and so broaden our understanding of the aesthetic revolution which transformed the literature and mentality of France and Western Europe during the Renaissance.


  • Introduction
  • 1. The Allegorical Tradition
  • 2. The Three Goddesses: Jean Lemaire de Belges
  • 3. Allegorical Interpretation in a Time of Change: from the Bible to Olympus
  • 4. The Three Goddesses: Francois Habert
  • Transition: Lection and Election
  • 5. A Preparation for Reading
  • 6. Jean-Antoine de Baif
  • 7. Pierre de Ronsard
  • Epilogue: the Three Goddesses again
  • Notes
  • Bibliography of works consulted
  • Index.

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