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Le Chœur des justiciables : contrôles, libertés et usages judiciaires de la poésie à la Renaissance (France, 1500-1560)

Abstract : In XVIth century France the legal system hunts down heresy among the writers and printers attracted by the Reformation. Some well-known examples are the repetitive legal actions against Clément Marot and the execution of Étienne Dolet, burned at the stake in 1546. But this repressive policy was not limited to only these sadly famous cases, nor to matters of religious faith. Many other poets, famous and unknown, are put on trial because of their religious, satirical, and, in a pair of isolated cases, even obscene writings. Moreover the various actors implicated in the making of the book confront each other in some cases concerning literary ownership. This study aims to understand how such legal constraints influenced the writing of poetry in the Renaissance. The first steps are to reconstruct the process in which poetic texts were censored, from the identification of the suspicious text to the interrogation of the poet, including the licensing of the book and the investigation of satirical verses posted at town intersections. This is the system of control which poets stand up against, attempting to defend their freedom of speech, –the right to write satire and to sing their religious beliefs, the freedom to play with the codes of erotic poetry. In fact, the idea of freedom of speech is not so foreign to them as we could think, as they give political meaning to the notion of « license », which ordinarily justifies the excentricities of poetic language. Through their writing, poets try to advance their cause and to reappropriate their experience of the law : these specific goals make legal poetry a genre of its own, both in dealing with the reality and in recreating the events in an unrealistic manner.
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André Bayrou. Le Chœur des justiciables : contrôles, libertés et usages judiciaires de la poésie à la Renaissance (France, 1500-1560). Littératures. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018USPCA014⟩. ⟨tel-02446571⟩

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