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Anne de Graville and Women’s Literary Networks in Early Modern France

Elizabeth L'Estrange

L’ESTRANGE Elizabeth, Anne de Graville and Women’s Literary Networks in Early Modern France, Martlesham, Boydell and Brewer, 2023.

ISBN : 9781843846864

First detailed reconstruction of Anne de Graville’s library, establishing her as one of the most well-read and erudite poets of the period.

In the 1520s, the French noblewoman Anne de Graville composed two poetic works, based on older, canonical, male-authored texts : Giovanni Boccaccio’s Teseida and Alain Chartier’s Belle dame sans mercy. The first, the Beau roman, she offered to Claude, queen of France and wife of Francis I, and the second, the Rondeaux, to the king’s mother, Louise of Savoy. With the pro-feminine spin of her rewritings, Anne developed the legacy of another woman writer from 100 years earlier, Christine de Pizan, by entering the on-going debate known as the querelle des femmes. Like Christine, Anne sought to redress the negative view of women found in much contemporary popular literature and to offer role models for both men and women at the court of Francis I.

This book is the first detailed reconstruction and interpretation of Anne’s library and her collecting practice, showing how they relate to her own writings and her literary milieu. It also teases out her links to other women writers of the time interested in the querelle, such as Catherine d’Amboise and Margaret of Navarre. Paying close attention to literary, manuscript, and artistic sources, it establishes Anne’s reputation as one of the most erudite poets of the period, and one keenly attuned to the position of women in society as well as to the political sensitivities of the French court.

Table des matières

List of Illustrations
A Note on Citations, Translations and Transcriptions
List of Abbreviations
Introduction : ’Une femme d’excellence en vertus, ma dame d’Entraigues’ : Anne de Graville’s Life and Works
Part I : Anne de Graville : Reader and Collector
Chapter 1 : J’en garde un leal : Reconstructing Anne de Graville’s Library
Chapter 2 : ’A vos yeulx, un peu de recreation’ : Translation, Translatio Studii and Self-Fashioning in Anne de Graville’s Chaldean Histories
Chapter 3 : The Rouen Connection : The Puy, Poetry and Petrarch
Part II : From Reading to Writing : Anne as Author
Chapter 4 : Musas natura, lachrymas fortuna : Anne de Graville, Christine de Pizan and Women’s Shaping of the querelle des femmes
Chapter 5 : Love, Amazons and Fortune in the Beau roman for Claude of France
Chapter 6 : Debating with ’Maistre Allain’ : Chartier, Blois and Poetic Form in the Rondeaux for Louise of Savoy
Conclusion : ’Celle la qui porte le regnon’ : A Last Word on Anne de Graville
Appendix A : Books Inherited, Acquired, Commissioned or Associated with Anne de Graville
Appendix B : Inventory of the d’Urfé Library at La Bâtie, c. 1780
Appendix C : Manuscripts Containing Works by Anne de Graville


Elizabeth L’Estrange is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies at the University of Birmingham