Reveries of Community

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3585-7

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3584-0

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3583-3
Publication Date
December 2017
Page Count
200 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Reveries of Community

French Epic in the Age of Henri IV, 1572–1616
Katherine S. Maynard

Reveries of Community reconsiders the role of epic poetry during the French Wars of Religion, the series of wars between Catholics and Protestants that dominated France between 1562 and 1598. Critics have often viewed French epic poetry as a casualty of these wars, arguing that the few epics France produced during this conflict failed in power and influence compared to those of France’s neighbors, such as Italy’s Orlando Furioso, England’s Faerie Queene, and Portugal’s Os Lusíadas. Katherine S. Maynard argues instead that the wars did not hinder epic poetry, but rather French poets responded to the crisis by using epic poetry to reimagine France’s present and future.
Traditionally united by une foi, une loi, un roi (one faith, one law, one king), France under Henri IV was cleaved into warring factions of Catholics and Huguenots. The country suffered episodes of bloodshed such as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, even as attempts were made to attenuate the violence through frequent edicts, including those of St. Germain (1570) and Nantes (1598). Maynard examines the rich and often dismissed body work written during these bloody decades: Pierre de Ronsard’s Franciade, Guillaume Salluste Du Bartas’s La Judit and La Sepmaine, Sébastian Garnier’s La Henriade, Agrippa d’Aubigné’s Les Tragiques, and others. She traces how French poets, taking classics such as Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad as their models, reimagined possibilities for French reconciliation and unity.
About the Author

KATHERINE S. MAYNARD is an associate professor of French at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

“Maynard is recognized as a key thinker of French Renaissance epic. The field is waiting for this book.”—Phillip John Usher, author of Epic Arts in Renaissance France

"In this journey across the work of five epic poets, Maynard not only provides ample evidence for the importance and the vitality of the French epic, but also provides a productive lens through which to consider these difficult, formative decades of French history." —Renaissance Quarterly

". . . this is an interesting and in fact refreshingly concise study in a field that has often been neglected. It blends well-known works with relatively obscure texts. The research behind it is thorough and the comments on community are thought-provoking." —Jean Braybook, H-France