Although Marguerite de Navarre's unique position in sixteenth-century France has long been acknowledged and she is one of the most studied women of the time, until now no study has focused attention on Marguerite's political life. Barbara Stephenson here fills the gap, delineating Marguerite's formal political position and highlighting her actions as a figure with the opportunity to exercise power through both official and unofficial channels. Through Marguerite's surviving correspondence, Stephenson traces the various networks through which this French noblewoman exercised the power available to her to further the careers of political and religious clients, as well as her struggle to protect the interests of her brother the king and those of her own family and household. The analysis of Marguerite's activities sheds light on noble society as a whole.
'… a sound and compelling book that introduces a new methodology for studying women's history and makes a ground-breaking argument about political power exercised by Marguerite of Navarre … Barbara Stephenson introduces a model of clientage that enables scholars to trace women's participation in broker-client systems fully.' Sarah Hanley, Professor of History and Law, The University of Iowa '… an important contribution to studies of patronage and to our understanding of the complex Queen of Navarre.' Choice Reviews 'Marguerite emerges in this important study as a powerful anomaly who was able to combine male and female roles and to negotiate fluid boudaries between religion and politics' Renaissance Quarterly '.. a valuable and significant book.' American Historical Review
Contents: Introduction: Margeurite de Navarre: corps féminin, coeur d'homme, tÃªte d'ange; 'Vostre treshumble et tresobeisant sujet': networking and clientage in Marguerite's correspondence; 'Vostre bonne cousine et mauvais mere': language and fidelity in the correspondence; 'La vrai dame proprietaire': Marguerite's political authority; 'Non comme soeur': the patronage relationship of Margeurite and FranÃ§ois I; 'Je vous supplie': Marguerite's religious patronage; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.