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Jean-Antoine de Baïf and the Valois Court

Yvonne Roberts

This is a study of Jean-Antoine de Baïf’s political verses. With these poems he repaid the generous support given to his costly artistic enterprises first by Catherine de Médicis and then by Henri III. It will be of interest to those concerned with both Renaissance society and the history of political thought. Baïf’s personal philosophy evolves from a complete acceptance of Catholic, monarchist policy to the advocacy of the separation of state and religion and the submission of the monarch to the code of law. Without the assistance of the major shift in the attitudes of society vividly illustrated by this devout Catholic courtier and loyal servant of Catherine de Médicis, it is unlikely that Henri de Navarre’s relatively peaceful accession to the throne could have been accomplished.
Contents: New material on the life of Baïf – Baïf’s political verse and political involvement – Sixteenth century politics – Religious wars in France – Catherine de Médicis – Changing mentalities of a nation – Formation of consensus leading to the accession of Henri IV – End of the Humanist Dream.