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Devis d'amitie: Melanges en l'honneur de Nicole Cazauran.

Jean Lecointe, Catherine Magnien, Isabelle Pantin, and Marie-Claire Thomine, eds. Devis d'amitie: Melanges en l'bonneur de Nicole Cazauran.

Paris: Honore Champion Editeur, 2002. 966 pp. index. [euro] 137.20. ISBN: 2-7453-0617-0.

The festschrift is a notoriously unwieldy and ultimately unsatisfactory genre. It is often an arbitrary assemblage of unevenly matched pieces de circonstance, cobbled together for no other reason than to mark the revolution of a noteworthy career. Lights are occasionally hidden under the bushel of a catch-all title; shadows are given a prominence they might not otherwise merit. The collection in celebration of the distinguished career of retired Sorbonne professor and past president of the Centre V. L. Saulnier, Nicole Cazauran, is no exception. That said, Devis d'amitie does constitute a veritable "who's who" of the French seiziemiste (and earlier) literary establishment, from the late, lamented Robert Aulotte to Michel Zink, and its 900+ pages of erudition from fifty-two different contributors is nothing if not an impressive index of Professor Cazauran's influence. In harmony with the published record of her interests, but also a useful convenience for the focused reader, the essays are grouped under four generic headings: "Narrations," "Marguerites," "Poesie, Spiritualite," and "Figures, Polemiques." This brief review will necessarily focus on a few highlights as the author sees them, and he begs forgiveness in advance for passing over so many other worthwhile contributions.

From "Narrations": Gabriel-Andre Perouse, master historian of the French nouvelle, profits from a recent critical edition of Nicolas Denisot's 1558 L'Amant ressuscite de la mort d'amour, to offer thoughtful Christian exegesis of this under-appreciated contemporary of, and in many ways companion piece to, Marguerite de Navarre's much better known Heptameron. This is nicely linked to Eliane Viennot's reading back through the models and intertexts of Anne de France's Enseignements a sa fille (ca. 1505), "vraisemblablement le premier traite de la Renaissance sur l'education d'une princesse" (139), an edition of which was published for Marguerite de Navarre in 1535. It is this type of chance linkage that is the unexpected pleasure of the festschrift as genre, and the succeeding subset, "Marguerites" does indeed contain pearls, presented, as it were, to Professor Cazauran, one of the royal Marguerite's more perspicacious readers. Marguerite Soulie's rereading of the 1524 Dialogue en forme de vision nocturne confirms the strongly evangelical, "prereforme" nature of Marguerite de Navarre's early verse work and argues that it is perhaps the most radical expression of her religious convictions. Francoise Charpentier tempts the reader with a proposal for a full-scale study of the Heptameron's "rhetorique des Dames" before necessarily limiting herself to two sample readings in this vein of Tales 26 and 15. Annie Parent-Charon, author of an earlier valuable study on printing in sixteenth-century Paris, offers a dry but usefully detailed tour of editions of Marguerite de Navarre's works on sale in Parisian printer Galliot Du Pre's bookshop in the spring of 1561. Under "Poesie, Spiritualite," Daniel Menager provides what is perhaps the most interesting piece in the volume, a supplement to the argument for restoring the importance of Christian mythology--"angelogogie," in particular--to Ronsard's works and, by implication, to those of his contemporaries. Andre Gendre assesses both the poetic and polemical qualities of Anne de Marquets's Sonets, prieres et devises, a rare instance of woman-authored anti-Calvinist engagement.

As with a subsequent article by Sabine Lardon concerning the influence of both Calvin and the psalms themselves on the style of Jean de Sponde's Meditations, many of the essays included in "Spiritualite, Poesie" are just as suited to the final rubric, "Figures, Polemiques," as if Professor Cazauran's own penchant for the polemical excesses of the century guided the efforts of the volume's readers of verse. This final grouping opens with the most personal and lyrical of the collection's offerings, in both form and content, Marie-Madeleine de La Garanderie's interrogative "biography" of Roberte, widow of that "monster of erudition," Guillaume Bude. Jean Dupebe arguably lays to rest, in a thoroughly and convincingly documented piece, the problem of the date of Rabelais's birth. The late Michel Simonin contributes a tour de force reading of the 1586 "Affaire Le Breton" that makes evident yet again what the profession has lost with his passing. There are various minor typographical errors and misplaced note numbers, but nothing to hinder the reader's full appreciation of the critical feast (and, in some instances, alas, famine) on which this review has managed to touch only lightly.


University of South Carolina
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Title Annotation:Reviews
Author:Persels, Jeff
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2004
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