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Catherine de Medici

Five Portraits


Michael G. Paulson

Who was Catherine de Medici? The answer to this question depends largely on one’s religion and politics. Catherine de Medici: Five Portraits examines historically this great queen from the standpoint of her contemporaries and later writers. The primary focus is Catherine as seen in five works of French literature: Madame de La Fayette’s La Princesse de Clèves, Honoré de Balzac’s Sur Catherine de Médicis, Alexandre Dumas père’s La Reine Margot, Henri III et sa cour, and Prosper Mérimée’s Chronique du règne de Charles IX. The famous queen and queen-mother are viewed from a multiplicity of perspectives, including that of victim and victimizer.