Vile birds and beasts in Jean Lemaire de Belges's Epîtres de l'Amant Vert
MetadataShow full item record
This article studies the various physical, social, and moral criteria that determine villainy – in the various senses implied by Maurice de la Porte’s Epithetes (1571) – in Renaissance birds. It focuses primarily on Jean Lemaire de Belges’s Epîtres de l’Amant Vert (1505–11), two poems whose praise of Lemaire’s patron, Marguerite d’Autriche, is couched in praise of (and by) her pet parrot, the Amant Vert. For all that the poems show the Amant Vert’s distinctions between the vile and the noble to be confirmed in the afterlife, his serio-comic perception of himself as tragically noble risks destabilizing his narrative judgement: he is, after all, a parrot. The article therefore considers the ambiguity of the Amant Vert and the contrasting stability of his conceptions of the vile, comparing his criteria for determining villainy with those found in less paradoxical forms of writing. This study of villainy in Renaissance birds thereby tests how valuable a contribution such ambiguous or unstable genres as the serio-comic or the paradoxical may make to the study of shifting and versatile concepts such as the vile.
Herdman , E 2017 , ' Vile birds and beasts in Jean Lemaire de Belges's Epîtres de l'Amant Vert ' , Early Modern French Studies , vol. 39 , no. 2 , pp. 99-113 . https://doi.org/10.1080/20563035.2017.1380556
Early Modern French Studies
© The Society for Seventeenth-Century French Studies 2017. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/20563035.2017.1380556
DescriptionSpecial issue: Variations of Vileness in Early Modern French Writing. Editors: Jonathan Patterson and Emilia Wilton-Godberfforde
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.