Scholars have wondered why Rabelais dedicated his Third Book (1546) to Marguerite de Navarre, since the book is filled with ridicule of women. In attempting to discover why Rabelais might have done this, the following essay suggests that he and Marguerite shared an interest in marriage, and in particular, they both opposed clandestine marriage, then under discussion by the Council ofTrent. In exploring the treatment of clandestine marriage in the Third Book and the Heptameron, it becomes evident that both authors were familiar with the apocryphal book ofTobit, a favorite of evangelical reformers who saw there justification for their own condemnation of such marriages. Rabelais in fact may be admitting shared reformist sentiments in his mysterious dedication to the Queen of Navarre.
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