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Debate of Folly and Love

A New English Translation with the Original French Text


Anne-Marie Bourbon

Louise Labé, a French Renaissance poet, was one of the most exciting and influential writers of her time. Many scholars have translated her poems into English, but few have addressed her prose. Yet Debate of Folly and Love generated enormous enthusiasm among its first audience when it was published in 1555. Not only does it constitute a major part of Labé’s work, it also contains her most innovative and original ideas. It is a witty, serious commentary on women’s roles in society, love, marriage, and reason vs. folly – issues still pertinent in our times and attractive to modern readers. This translation takes into account all the recent research by scholars on Labé and sheds new light on her original text. The introduction situates Labé’s life and work; notes, a bibliography, and a glossary complete this work.