116th Annual Conference - Bellingham, Washington
Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, 2018

Metaphysics and Ethics in the Work of François de Malherbe

Erik Noonan, Independent Scholar

Drawing upon his letters and poems, along with a contemporary memoir and various commentaries, this paper will use original translations to explore the origins, works and legacy of the French poet François de Malherbe (1555-1628).

Proposal: 

For a handful of cognoscenti, the salon of Madame de Rambouillet evoked Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court and revived a pale shadow of fin’ amor in the context of the Renaissance.  In attendance at these conversations was François de Malherbe, who would become a court poet composing occasional verse on matters of state in the years leading up to the Huguenot defeat at La Rochelle, during the final stages of the centralization of power in the Crown at Paris, an echo of the Albigensian Crusade in the context of the Reformation.  Malherbe’s ethics addressed itself to poetic composition exclusively, in his teaching of the young poets of his circle, and he created in his poetry a metaphysical substructure to support it. Drawing upon his letters and poems, along with Racan’s Vie de Malherbe and various commentaries, this paper will use original translations and the French to explore the origins, works and legacy of this extraordinary poet.

Topic Area: