|About the Book|
This dissertation examines the emergence of the monster motif during the late 16th-century Religious Wars through a multi-layered study that takes into account the arts, science and literature of the time. Chapters 1 and 2 trace the shift in theMoreThis dissertation examines the emergence of the monster motif during the late 16th-century Religious Wars through a multi-layered study that takes into account the arts, science and literature of the time. Chapters 1 and 2 trace the shift in the concept of the monster from Antiquity to the 16th century. In Antiquity, monsters were considered prodigies, marvelous creatures that raise astonishment, surprise and curiosity. During the 16th century, this concept changed progressively into the modern meaning of a scary creature. This evolution manifests itself clearly in poetry. This study reveals that it occurs during the rise of the Reformation and the Religious Wars, eight terrible and bloody civil wars that divided France into two factions, Catholic and Huguenot. Both parties attacked each other using monsters as weapons in polemic texts, such as pamphlets, letters or discourses. From a poetry of love, lyrism and glorification of the womans beauty, poets like Pierre de Ronsard and Agrippa dAubigne shift their focus to a polemic poetry that is characterized by horror and the imagery of monsters. Chapters 3 and 4 concentrate on two works: Discours (1562) by Ronsard and Les Tragiques (1610) by Aubigne. In both poems monsters are used to depict the enemies: the Huguenots for the Catholic poet Ronsard, and the Catholic Royal family for the Protestant poet Aubigne. A stylistic analysis of these works shows that during the Religious Wars there is indeed a rhetoric of the monster, which is a new poetic trend relying on monsters as metaphors to embody the opponent and on a monstrous writing style. The present study demonstrates that this trend first exemplified by Ronsard, culminates in Aubignes poetry through a rhetoric which shares many characteristics with baroque aesthetics.