This title presents an analysis of the religious and feminist bases of de Navarre's humor. The author emphasizes Marguerite's use of stock medieval comic patterns. This book examines the humor developed by Marguerite de Navarre in the so-called "Heptameron", her short-story collection emulating Boccaccio's "Decameron" but published incomplete after her death. Within the patterns of anti-clerical mockery and comical tales of adultery, one notes how her religious satire is reinforced by a clear, if relatively ill-defined, Reformist agenda.Also, much of the humor deriving from faithless marriages is biased against the male sex: she is a feminist avant la lettre. These satiric patterns, seen as either value-based or clan-based (or sometimes both), stand against entirely contrary trends of humor whose aim can be either to parody Marguerite's principles by inverting them - she responds to the appeal of the lovable rogue - or to lay those principles aside, indulging the comedy of the uninitiated, the simpleton, the naif and the ingenue. How one selects from such a rich matrix those elements which are key to one's own response is an individual matter.
By adopting serious poses, Marguerite's narrators may prevent us from finding humor everywhere. But when she invites us to laugh, she will not and cannot deny us the freedom to do so on our own terms.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd