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Administration, Poetry, Theology: Marguerite de Navarre’s Unusual Trinity
15th February: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm GMT
Human Dignity and Bureaucracy series
A talk by Dr Jonathan Patterson, Departmental Lecturer in French, St Edmund Hall, Oxford.
Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549) was a woman of many talents. By marriage she became Duchess of Alençon, then queen of Navarre; by birth she was sister of the French King François I. Her status and intersecting official positions enabled her to build a vast network of ambassadors, magistrates, clergy, poets, and administrators. As early as 1521, an ecclesiastical correspondent, Bishop Guillaume Briçonnet, urged Marguerite to remain united to her brother and mother – the ‘trinity’ that would determine the course of French politics and diplomacy throughout the 1520s. In this paper Dr Patterson will argue that Marguerite’s role within this trinity is superseded by her wider engagement in another trinity: administration, poetry, and theological reflection. This makes Marguerite not a ‘bureaucratic’ author, but one whose correspondence suggests a nuanced administrative habitus. Marguerite’s practice of diplomacy is oriented towards Christ the ‘Heavenly Administrator of the soul’, and it relies on earthly proxies of feeling: the letter bearer, and sometimes the very letter, or poem, itself.
Online. Free and open for all.
Las Casas Institute