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Representations of the Body in French Renaissance Poetry

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Karen R. Sorsby

Representations of the Body in French Renaissance Poetry examines the poetic debate over the nature and importance of the body in the sixteenth century, a subject about which Renaissance poets had a great deal to say. Focusing on the evolution of dissection and physical examination of the human body, Karen Sorsby presents a detailed and sophisticated understanding of the language of the body as it is used by poets such as Maurice Scève, Du Bellay, Ronsard, Louise Labé, Agrippa d'Aubigné, and Du Bartas. A guiding assumption of this study is that sixteenth-century French poets considered the acquisition of self-knowledge to be necessary to the understanding of man. They relied on anatomy in their poetry to provide a sense of body and soul, which they believed to be necessary to acquire self-knowledge.