ISBN : 9780198852391
It is easy to forget how deeply embedded in social hierarchy was the literature and learning that has come down to us from the early modern European world. From fiction to philosophy, from poetry to history, works of all kinds emerged from and through the social hierarchy that was a fundamental fact of everyday life. Paying attention to it changes how we might understand and interpret the works themselves, whether canonical and familiar or largely forgotten. But a second, related fact is much overlooked too: works also often emanated from families, not just from individuals.
Families were driving forces in the production-that is, in the composing, editing, translating, or publishing-of countless works. Relatives collaborated with each other, edited each other, or continued the unfinished works of deceased family members; some imitated or were inspired by the works of long-dead relatives. The reason why this second fact (about families) is connected to the first (about social hierarchy) is that families were in the period a basic social medium through which social status was claimed, maintained, threatened, or lost. So producing literary works was one of the many ways in which families claimed their place in the social world. The process was however often fraught, difficult, or disappointing. If families created works as a form of socio-cultural legacy that might continue to benefit their future members, not all members benefited equally; women sometimes produced or claimed the legacy for themselves, but they were often sidelined from it. Relatives sometimes disagreed bitterly about family history, identity (not least religious), and so about the picture of themselves and their family that they wished to project more widely in society through their written works, whether printed or manuscript. So although family was a fundamental social medium out of which so many works emerged, that process could be conflictual as well as harmonious. The intertwined role of family and social hierarchy within literary production is explored in this book through the case of France, from the late fifteenth to the mid-seventeenth century. Some families are studied here in detail, such as that of the most widely read French poet of the age, Clement Marot. But the extent of this phenomenon is quantified too: some two hundred families are identified as each containing more than one literary producer, and in the case of one family an extraordinary twenty-seven.
Part I. Introduction
1 Hierarchy and heredity
2 Why this time and place?
3 Inheritance under the law
4 Transmission beyond legal inheritance: socio-cultural legacy
5 Other collectivities
6 Family literature
7 The family function
Part II. Family Literature: A Social Survey
8 Family literature: extent and social profile
9 Works shaped by family
10 Not going to plan
Part III. Promoting Family Literature
12 Families and the emergence of literary history
13 La Croix du Maine's Bibliotheque (1584)
14 Scevole de Sainte-Marthe's Elogia (1598-1630)
Part IV. The Marot Family
16 Introducing the Marots
17 The extent and the limits of a family's ascent through poetry
18 Moulding social hierarchy by communicating experience of it: Clement Marot's poetry
Part V. The Brouart-Vatable-Beroald-Verville Family
20 Two deaths in the family: 1526, 1626
21 From barber-surgeon's son to professor: Matthieu Beroald
22 From professor's son to 'Francois Beroalde, escuyer, sieur de Verville, docteur en medicine'
Appendix: Families with more than one literary producer