Confession(s) of an Early Modern Virago: Situating Confession, Evangelizing and Defense of Women in the Works of Hélisenne de Crenne Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Hughes, Ellis
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • This dissertation situates the writings of Hélisenne de Crenne in the turbulent France of the sixteenth century. I argue that the religious nature of Crenne's works is ambiguous in many ways and much more subversive than many critics seem to believe. By mixing pagan and Christian symbols, as well as walking a line between Protestant and Catholic ideology, Crenne creates a spiritual realm that is complex and nuanced. The manner in which she subverts or even at times perverts traditional teachings could be read as extremely dangerous to the male-dominated social order and I argue that she hides a powerful and sensual corpus laden with ambiguities behind the thinly-veiled disclaimer of didactic exemplarity and counter-exemplarity. Along with the textual analysis of Crenne's opus, my project also examines the actual publication process of her works showing that, much like the characters in her stories who use religious ambiguity to undermine power structures, Crenne's printers and publishers cleverly navigated the increasingly dangerous politics of print culture in sixteenth-century France. This study outlines the history of Crenne's publications including detailed information about each of her publishers or printers. Her last two publishers, Charles Langelier and Estienne Groulleau, both found themselves embroiled in various reformist movements, subsequently ruining their businesses. Crenne's last sixteenth-century editions date from 1560, just before the formal onset of the Religious Wars in France. My study examines the role that the religious ideas in her texts and the confessional affiliations of the men and women responsible for bringing them to print may have played in the eventual disappearance of her publications.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Melehy, Hassan
  • Longino, Michèle
  • Welch, Ellen
  • Heitsch, Dorothea
  • Fisher, Dominique D.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2014
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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