The Heptameron by Queen Margaret of Navarre

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Published in 1558, ten years after the author's death, "The Heptameron" is an unfinished work inspired by the "Decameron" by Giovanni Boccaccio, containing seventy-two short stories written in French by Marguerite de Navarre, Queen of Navarre and sister of Francois I. The story begins with five gentlemen and five lady travelers who find themselves stranded in a small town in the Pyrenees, and decide to entertain themselves through story-telling, which rapidly evolves into an all-out verbal battle between the sexes. Shocking to many modern readers, "The Heptameron" is a fascinating glimpse into sixteenth century notions of love, lust, infidelity and other sexual matters. It is believed that many of these stories were taken directly from members of the court of Francois I; however, fictional or true, it is certain that this book will delight, offend and educate readers today as it has for centuries.

About Queen Margaret of Navarre

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Princess of Angouleme, Queen of Navarre, and sister to King Francis I, Marguerite Navarre was in a unique position to contribute to the intellectual and political life of the French Renaissance. She participated actively in state affairs and was celebrated as a patron of the arts, drawing to her court theologians, poets, and scholars who were interested in the new ideas that would forge the Renaissance and Reformation in France. Navarre produced religious dramas and mystical poetry, but her masterpiece is the Heptameron (1558), a collection of 72 posthumously published tales, loosely based on Boccaccio's Decameron. These lively stories of love and adventure frequently focus on the social roles of the sexes and recall the contemporary querelle des femmes, the late medieval debate on the status of women. They offer a vivid image of court life during the French Renaissance and a lasting contribution to the literature of feminism.
Published June 24, 2010 by 430 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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