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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and fascinating insight into C16th French 'love'
Marguerite de Navarre was the sister of Francis I of France and so was the grandmother of Henri de Navarre, and the great-aunt of Marguerite, better known as 'la reine Margot' from the Dumas novel and far more fabulous film.

Although her authorship is disputed, the Heptameron is usually attributed to her, and first appeared in print in the mid-1500s. Inspired...
Published on 16 Jan. 2009 by Roman Clodia

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Literature of 1550s France
Attributed to Marguerite of Navarre and set in mid-1500s Europe, this is an intriguing collection of seventy-two stories.
With a similar framework to the Canterbury Tales and the Decameron, the narrators - five men and five women of noble background - are thrown together in an abbey in the Pyrenees following a flood. As they wait for a bridge to be built, they...
Published 2 months ago by sally tarbox


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and fascinating insight into C16th French 'love', 16 Jan. 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heptameron (Classics) (Paperback)
Marguerite de Navarre was the sister of Francis I of France and so was the grandmother of Henri de Navarre, and the great-aunt of Marguerite, better known as 'la reine Margot' from the Dumas novel and far more fabulous film.

Although her authorship is disputed, the Heptameron is usually attributed to her, and first appeared in print in the mid-1500s. Inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron (The Decameron (Penguin Classics)) this uses a similar framework of a group of noble French men and women trapped and taking refuge in a flood: in order to amuse themselves, they take it in turns to tell a series of stories each day on a set theme.

Bawdy, erotic, sweet, witty and funny, these tales chart a verbal battle of the sexes, and the story-tellers reveal and conceal their own erotic fears and fantasies. Slightly reminiscent, also, of Chaucer, the stories are full of tricky wives, adulterous husbands, corrupt churchmen and nobels either getting away with it, or their come-uppance, depending on the ideology of the teller.

And it is this fascinating relationship between the story-teller and the story they tell, as well as the gradually-revealed tensions within the group itself that lift this beyond the purely entertaining (not that there's anything wrong with the pure ability to entertain).

Whether this was really written by a woman, or merely collected by her with just some of her own writings included, this throws a fascinating light on C16th French debates about the nature of gender, and particularly the politics of the erotic. It's also just a fascinating, fun and sometimes very moving read. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Literature of 1550s France, 14 Feb. 2015
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sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heptameron (Classics) (Paperback)
Attributed to Marguerite of Navarre and set in mid-1500s Europe, this is an intriguing collection of seventy-two stories.
With a similar framework to the Canterbury Tales and the Decameron, the narrators - five men and five women of noble background - are thrown together in an abbey in the Pyrenees following a flood. As they wait for a bridge to be built, they entertain themselves by telling (supposedly true) stories. These concern chaste - and faithless - husbands and wives, immoral monks, people who love to the death, people who seek revenge, incest...one is even about the horrid state of toilets in an abbey! A glimpse into the world and attitudes of the time.
Each story is followed by the characters debating what they've just heard, and their personalities come out in their talk, from pious old Oisille and sensible Parlamente to the rather brutish Hircan who derides chaste heroes, and the misogynistic Saffredent.
The modern translation makes this completely readable and I quite enjoyed it, though the stories are variable in quality, and I found seventy-two was quite enough!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars heptameron, 3 Jan. 2011
By 
William Campbell (glasgow,scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Heptameron (Classics) (Paperback)
just finished this book,must say that after reading The Decameron i tend to compare the two,while this Heptameron is similar and excellent it does not have the same entertaining enthusiasm as Boccaccio,s book
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The Heptameron (Classics)
The Heptameron (Classics) by Marguerite De Navarre (Paperback - 23 Feb. 1984)
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