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Authors and Critics

  • Christine de Pizan (1364 - 1430)
    From Women in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia
    The first professional woman writer in French literature, Christine de Pizan excelled in a great variety of genres, from courtly lyric to political and religious treatises.
  • Chrétien de Troyes (c 1100s): Topic Page
    French romance writer Chrétien de Troyes elaborated upon earlier Arthurian legends in such an intriguing way as to create, change, and record the highly stylized customs of courtly love just beginning to flower in France at the time.
  • François Rabelais (1494 - 1553): Topic Page
    French monk, physician and satirist
  • François Villon (1431 - 1463): Topic Page
    French poet, b. Paris, whose original name was François de Montcorbier or François Des Loges. One of the earliest great poets of France, Villon was largely rediscovered in the 19th cent.
  • Giordano Bruno (1548 - 1600): Topic Page
    The son of a professional soldier, he entered the Dominican order early in his youth and was ordained a priest in 1572, but he was accused of heresy and fled (c.1576) to take up a career of study and travel.
  • Guillaume Bude (1467 - 1540): Topic Page
    French scholar and humanist. He played a major role in developing classical scholarship in France.
  • Marie de France (c1140 - 1200)
    From The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Women's Biography
    The most famous of her works are the Lais (which are thought to be written before 1180), short narrative poems inspired by the ancient lays of Breton harpists but treated in a very personal way: magical and fantastic elements are interwoven with both heroic and simple human deeds.
  • Michel Montaigne (1533 - 1592): Topic Page
    French writer. He is regarded as the creator of the essay form.
  • Peter Abelard (1079 - 1142): Topic Page
    Theologian. As lecturer in the cathedral school of Notre Dame in Paris, he became tutor to Héloïse, the 17-year-old niece of the canon Fulbert. They fell passionately in love.
  • Pierre de Ronsard (1524 - 1585)
    From The Classical Tradition
    Ronsard is the prime exponent in 16th-century France of a classically inspired form of poetry that was meant to rival the works of the Italian Renaissance as well as those of Greece and Rome.
  • The Pléiade (ca 1550s)
    From The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
    Only in the early 19th c.did the term Pléiade become associated with a mythical school whose agenda was then viewed as exemplary and prefiguring the profound literary aspirations of romanticism.
  • Étienne de La Boétie (1530 - 1563)
    From The Encyclopaedia of the Renaissance
    La Boétie was born at Sarlat and became a colleague of Montaigne in the parlement de Bordeaux: their acquaintance developed into a close friendship that was to have a profound influence on Montaigne's life and works.

History

  • French Literature in the Middle Ages
    From Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature
    While the poems of the great medieval French author Francois Villon remain the most familiar of all the medieval French works, there was a great literary tradition that preceded him by centuries.
  • Poetry of France
    From The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
    I. Medieval to Early Modern
    II. Early Modern to 20th Century

Genres

  • Chansons de Geste
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    A group of epic poems of medieval France written from the 11th through the 13th cent.
  • Pastoral: Topic Page
    In France the pastourelle—a short poem in dialogue in which a minstrel courts a shepherdess—appeared as early as the 14th cent. and is exemplified in Le Jeu de Robin et de Marion, a play by Adam de La Halle.
  • Romance: Topic Page
    In literature, tales of love and chivalric adventure, in verse or prose, that became popular in France about 1200 and spread throughout Europe.
  • Satire: Topic Page
    Satire is both a mode and a genre of verse and prose lit. that adopts a critical attitude toward its target with the goal of censuring human folly.

Themes

  • Chivalry: Topic Page
    System of ethical ideals that arose from feudalism and had its highest development in the 12th and 13th cent.
  • Courtly love
    From Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature
    Courtly love symbolized a code of attitudes toward love, as well as the conduct considered suitable for lords and ladies.
  • Crusades: Topic Page
    Series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims.
  • Petrarchism
    From The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics The term Petrarchism refers to the imitation—whether in verse or prose, directly or indirectly—of features in the It. poetry of Francesco Petrarca (in Eng., Francis Petrarch, 1304-74), who derived his style from cl. Lat. verse, Occitan troubadour poetry, the It. *Dolce stil nuovo, and his immediate predecessor Dante.
  • Reformation: Topic Page
    Religious and political movement in 16th-century Europe to reform the Roman Catholic Church, which led to the establishment of the Protestant churches.
  • Renaissance: Topic Page
    Period in European cultural history that began in Italy around 1400 and lasted there until the end of the 1500s.
  • Scholasticism: Topic Page
    Philosophy and theology of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages.
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