1st Edition

The Politics of Obscenity in the Age of the Gutenberg Revolution Obscene Means in Early Modern French and European Print Culture and Literature

Edited By Peter Frei, Nelly Labère Copyright 2022
    390 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    390 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What does obscene mean? What does it have to say about the means through which meaning is produced and received in literary, artistic and, more broadly, social acts of representation and interaction? Early modern France and Europe faced these questions not only in regard to the political, religious and artistic reformations for which the Renaissance stands, but also in light of the reconfiguration of its mediasphere in the wake of the invention of the printing press. The Politics of Obscenity brings together researchers from Europe and the United States in offering scholars of early modern Europe a detailed understanding of the implications and the impact of obscene representations in their relationship to the Gutenberg Revolution which came to define Western modernity.

    Introduction: The Obscenity of Books: The Politics of the Obscene in Early Modern Print Culture

    Peter Frei and Nelly Labère

    Part 1: Obscene Means: What It Means to Be Obscene

    Obscene Materials in Manuscript Culture and Early Prints

    1. The Politics of Obscenity in Les Monstres des hommes, a Thirteenth-Century Manuscript

    Pierre Olivier Dittmar and Maud Pérez-Simon

    2. The "Hermaphrodite" of Modena: The Confusion That Made Her Disonesta (Twelfth to Sixteenth Centuries)

    Chloé Clovis Maillet

    3. X-Rated Letters: When the ABC Turns You On

    Marion Uhlig

    4. Courtly Obscenities Between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: From the "Forest de Longue Attente" to the Rondeaux and Ballads of the "Gaudisseur Amant" in La Chasse et le Départ d’Amours (Paris, Vérard, 1509)

    Jean-Claude Mühlethaler

    5. Even in Latin… Deterritorializations of the Obscene

    Jelle Koopmans

    Shifting Obscenities, from Manuscript to Print

    6. To Be or Not to Be Part of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles: Representing the Obscene in Manuscript and Print

    Nelly Labère

    7. Villon’s Imprint: Obscenity and Vulgarity in the Early Age of Print

    Peter Frei

    Part 2: Obscene Expositions: Obscenity and Renaissance Print Culture

    Impressions of the Body: The Genres of Renaissance Obscenity

    8. From Panurge to Pan: Rabelais’s Fictions of Undiplomatic Diplomacy and the Ambassador’s Pleasure

    Antónia Szabari

    9. Sentimental Obscenity

    Véronique Duché

    10. Les Blasons anatomiques du corps feminin and the Fabrication of Nudity

    Julien Goeury

    Appendix to Chapter 10: An Unpublished Counter-Blazon "by a Young Woman"

    Guillaume Berthon

    The Religious Ob-Scene: Towards a Politics of Obscenity

    11. Performing Protestant Identity Through Obscene Poetry: The Grenet Manuscript in the Age of the Printing Press

    Estelle Doudet

    12. Pathways to the Obscene in Calvin and Calvinism

    Georges Van Den Abbeele

    13. Obscenity on the Stage: A Double-Edged Sword

    François Lecercle

    Part 3: Impressions and Reimpressions of an Obscene Modernity

    The Language in Question or the Trouble with Words

    14. "Libertinage de langue" and Gender Legislation: The Indecent Mobility of Signs

    Gilles Magniont

    15. The Obscene, the Word, the Thing: Methodological Questions

    Jean-Christophe Abramovici

    Afterlives: On the History of Obscene Books

    16. Publishing Obscene Parodies. From Authorized Joyful Books to Forbidden Editions

    Katell Lavéant

    17. Between the Early Modern and the Modern: The Resonance of Aretino

    Russell Ganim

    Epilogue: The Obscene Remains of the Past

    Peter Frei and Nelly Labère


    Peter Frei teaches French and Comparative Literature at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland).

    Nelly Labère is Associate Professor (Maître de conférences HDR) at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne (France).