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Journal > Volumes > 53 (2022) / 1 (Spring)
Liberating Speech: Confession and Dialogue in Marguerite de Navarre’s Les Prisons
Reinier Leushuis
Florida State University

From a soteriological perspective, the process of salvation and spiritual liberation depicted in Les Prisons enacts the power of grace and seems to leave no room for human agency. At the same time, forms of dialogical speaking pervade the poem, and the spoken word, both human and divine, is featured as an instrument of confession and conversion. This coalescence of doctrine, speech, and dialogue reveals a vision on the salvific process in which the believer has a more participatory role than Marguerite’s doctrinal position seems to suggest. This article examines the poem’s dialogical and confessional exchanges and argues that the confessional, exemplary, persuasive, and consolatory functions of the spoken word in a dialogical setting valorize the Christian’s role in the processes of forgiveness, grace, and salvation, and reveal a degree of human agency. This view is substantiated by Augustinian and early reformist notions of confession as a spoken and dialogical praxis.

Pages: 109 - 134