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Guilty Sisters: Marguerite de Navarre, Elizabeth of England, and the Miroir de l'âme pécheresse

  • Susan Snyder (a1)

Extract

Le Miroir de l'âme pécheresse, a volume of devotional verse named for its principal poem, was published in Alençon in 1531 and in Paris two years later. The Paris edition identifies its author as “Marguerite de France, Soeur Vnicque du Roy,” and later as “Royne de Navarre.” Some eleven years later, the daughter of Henry VIII translated the Miroir as a gift for her latest stepmother, Queen Katherine Parr. The poem has thus a doubly unusual status. In an age when literature was overwhelmingly male in its origins, the agencies of genesis and transmission for this work were female. And in an age when most writers came from the middle class, the agents of its production and reproduction were of high birth, members of royal families.

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