The Visionary Queen: Justice, Reform, and the Labyrinth in Marguerite de Navarre
by Theresa Brock
University of Delaware Press, 2024
Paper: 978-1-64453-308-6 | Cloth: 978-1-64453-327-7 | eISBN: 978-1-64453-309-3

The Visionary Queen affirms Marguerite de Navarre’s status not only as a political figure, author, or proponent of non-schismatic reform, but also as a visionary. In her life and writings, the queen of Navarre dissected the injustices that her society and its institutions perpetuated against women. We also see evidence that she used her literary texts, especially the Heptaméron, as an exploratory space in which to generate a creative vision for institutional reform. The Heptaméron’s approach to reform emerges from statistical analysis of the text’s 72 tales, which reveals new insights into trends within the work, including the different categories of wrongdoing by male, institutional representatives from the Church and aristocracy, as well as the varying responses to injustice that characters in the tales employ as they pursue reform. Throughout its chapters, The Visionary Queen foregrounds the trope of the labyrinth, a potent symbol in early modern Europe that encapsulated the fallen world and redemption all at once, themes that Marguerite's project of reform consistently hearken back to. 

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