Elizabeth Chesney Zegura Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Elizabeth Chesney Zegura

Associate Professor (Emerita)
University of Arizona

Dr. Elizabeth Chesney Zegura is Associate Professor Emerita of French and Italian at the University of Arizona, where she taught courses on medieval and early modern French and Italian literature, existentialism and the theater of the absurd, and the French and Italian novel. Her work focuses on semiotic polyvalence in literature and representations of and by women in early modern texts, as well as connections between literature and art, music, politics, and science.


Elizabeth Chesney Zegura was born in eastern TN,  studied French and music at Bryn Mawr College,  and completed her master's and doctorate at Duke University with Marcel Tetel. She also studied with Michel Guggenheim and Gérard Defaux at Bryn Mawr, with Paul Bénichou at the Institut d'Etudes Françaises d'Avignon, and with Franco Simone at the University of Torino. In addition to teaching at the University of Arizona, she has taught at Duke University, Davidson College, and DePauw University. Her publications include The Countervoyage of Rabelais and Ariosto: A Comparative Reading of Two Renaissance Mock Epics (Duke University Press, 1982), Rabelais Revisited (co-authored with Marcel Tetel, Twayne/MacMillan, 1993), and The Rabelais Encyclopedia (edited volume, Greenwood Press, 2004), as well as shorter pieces on Ariosto, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, and Robert Garnier. She currently lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband, a retired biological anthropologist.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Dr. Zegura's research interests include: medieval and early modern French and Italian literature; Gender and Women's Studies; intersections between literature, music, and painting; medieval and early modern representations of and by women; literature, politics, and ethics; literary theory; literature and science. In addition to teaching courses in her specialty at the University of Arizona, she regularly taught classes on French existentialism and the Theater of the Absurd, the French and Italian novel(s), and French and Italian theater from the Middle Ages through Dario Fo. Her recent research includes an ecological reading of Orlando's madness scenes in Ariosto's Orlando furioso; a chapter on maternal death and patriarchal succession in Renaissance France and French literature; and a work in press on the representation and demystification of early modern sorcery and magic. Her current project is entitled "Bradamante's Legacy: The Extraordinary Afterlife of an Early Modern Feminist Icon."

Personal Interests

    Elizabeth Zegura enjoys attending sporting events, plays, and concerts with her husband, reading simply for fun, listening to music and re-learning the piano, trying to grow flowers in the desert, and traveling to Santa Fe in the summer to visit friends and go to the opera. She is a former member of the board of St. Michael's School in Tucson, is interested in present-day politics and humanitarian issues, and is a former classical music radio announcer at KUAT-FM. Finally, she is especially proud of her kind and accomplished daughter and stepson (as well as his amazing wife and children) who make the world a brighter and better place.


Featured Title
 Featured Title - Marguerite de Navarres Shifting Gaze - 1st Edition book cover


Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme, 38.2 (Spring 2015): 53-92

What the Monk’s Habit Hides: Excavating the Silent Truths in Marguerite de Navar

Published: Sep 01, 2015 by Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme, 38.2 (Spring 2015): 53-92
Authors: Elizabeth Chesney Zegura
Subjects: Literature

In Heptaméron 31, Marguerite de Navarre portrays a Cordelier who takes over a matron’s household during her husband’s absence, kills her servants, and abducts her. Despite its resemblance to Rutebeuf’s “Frère Denise,” Marguerite’s narrative is not a simple anticlerical satire. Within it we find a critique of the over-trusting husband, metaphors of censorship, an inquest into the dialectics of silence and (in)sight, and analogies between the body politic and body of the family.