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Journal > Volumes > 41 (2010) / 2 (Summer)
Fatal Lovesickness in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron
Judy Kem
Wake Forest University

Lovesickness, a medical condition thought to be caused by unrequited passion and also known as erotomania or erotic melancholy, figures prominently in the Heptameron. Marguerite de Navarre’s complex narrative strategies and skillful use of the controversial medico-moral debate on lovesickness, especially in novellas 9 and 26, convey to her contemporary, active readers a richly textured message about literary interpretation and sexual difference. Readers would no doubt have recognized Saffredent’s metatextual comments before and after novellas 9 and 26, the novella (20) he relates the day before, and his use of analogous intertextual episodes and intratextual doublings as a response to novella 9, recounted by Dagoucin. Saffredent’s play on literal and figurative meanings in novella 26 offers two conflicting readings—one that appears to praise the wise lady as a model of virtue and another that censures her hypocrisy.

Pages: 355 - 370