Marguerite de navarre’s shifting gaze: Perspectives on gender, class, and politics in the heptaméron

Elizabeth Chesney Zegura

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron, composed in the 1540s and first published posthumously in 1558 and 1559, has long been an interpretive puzzle. De Navarre (1492-1549), sister of King Francis I of France, was a controversial figure in her lifetime. Her evangelical activities and proximity to the Crown placed her at the epicenter of her country’s internecine strife and societal unrest. Yet her short stories appear to offer few traces of the sociopolitical turbulence that surrounded her. In Marguerite de Navarre’s Shifting Gaze, however, Elizabeth Zegura argues that the Heptaméron’s innocuous appearance camouflages its serious insights into patriarchy and gender, social class, and early modern French politics, which emerge from an analysis of the text’s shifting perspectives. Zegura’s approach, which focuses on visual cues and alternative standpoints and viewing positions within the text, hinges upon foregrounding “les choses basses” (lowly things) to which the devisante (storyteller) Oisille draws our attention in nouvelle (novella) 2 of the Heptaméron, using this downward, archaeological gaze to excavate layers of the text that merit more extensive critical attention. While her conclusions cast a new light on the literature, life, and times of Marguerite de Navarre, they are nevertheless closely aligned with recent scholarship on this important historical and literary figure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMarguerite de Navarre's Shifting Gaze
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives on Gender, Class, and Politics in the Heptameron
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages276
ISBN (Electronic)9781315394336
ISBN (Print)9781472487308
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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