Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

`Ne reprenez, Dames, si j?ay ayme?: Combatting Fear of Oppression in Louise Labe?s Sonnets by Siobhan Hodge

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Siobhan Hodge

The University of Western Australia 

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‘Ne reprenez, Dames, si j’ay aymé’: Combatting Fear of Oppression in Louise Labé’s Sonnets

Sixteenth century Lyonnaise poet, Louise Labé, is primarily famous for her sonnet series, encoded with subtle feminist references and overt celebrations of female sexual and romantic desire. However, these poems are also tinged with anxieties, focused on legitimising her poetic voice and self-expression. By closely reading several of Labé’s sonnets, a series of direct engagements with her contemporary audience, critics and predecessors becomes evident, along with the poet’s articulation of potential sources of doubt. Engagement with bodily imagery, technical approaches to voice and directives given to the reader, reveal Labé’s preoccupation with identifying and countering forms of oppression. The following analysis examines five sonnets in detail, with reference to Labé’s recognition of sources of concern and application of poetic techniques and images to challenge these.

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Hodge article [PDF, 565.8 KB]
Updated 10 Dec 2014

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Updated 10 Dec 2014


Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

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