Department

Department of English

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Frye

Second Advisor

Dr. Hervé Picherit

Description

The Heptaméron is a French text written during the 16 th century by Marguerite, the Queen of Navarre. In the Heptam é ron , Marguerite uses ten different characters to tell over seventy stories about gender, love, sex, government, and religion. In the process, she creates a complex commentary on her society. In particular, the Heptaméron demonstrates an interest in gender rol es. The purpose of my study of Marguerite’s work is to understand her heavy usage of the word honneur (honor) rather than the more common chasteté (chastity) when she refers to women. For women, honneur was limited to physical chastity, while men could eng age their society’s multiple powerful connotations of honneur , including dignities, rewards, and compliments. Marguerite, clearly aware of honneur ’s massive scope, manipulates this term in ways that give women power. She does this by using honneur to blur the lines between the public (male) and private (female) worlds, ultimately elevating the interior female world, home of the conscience, as the greatest source of power.

Comments

Oral Presentation, UW Honors Program

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The Power of a Single Word: “Honneur” in the Heptaméron

The Heptaméron is a French text written during the 16 th century by Marguerite, the Queen of Navarre. In the Heptam é ron , Marguerite uses ten different characters to tell over seventy stories about gender, love, sex, government, and religion. In the process, she creates a complex commentary on her society. In particular, the Heptaméron demonstrates an interest in gender rol es. The purpose of my study of Marguerite’s work is to understand her heavy usage of the word honneur (honor) rather than the more common chasteté (chastity) when she refers to women. For women, honneur was limited to physical chastity, while men could eng age their society’s multiple powerful connotations of honneur , including dignities, rewards, and compliments. Marguerite, clearly aware of honneur ’s massive scope, manipulates this term in ways that give women power. She does this by using honneur to blur the lines between the public (male) and private (female) worlds, ultimately elevating the interior female world, home of the conscience, as the greatest source of power.