King's Sister – Queen of Dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492-1549) and her Evangelical Network (set 2 volumes)


This study reconstructs for the first time Marguerite of Navarre’s leadership of a broad circle of nobles, prelates, humanist authors, and commoners, who sought to advance the reform of the French church along evangelical (Protestant) lines. Hitherto misunderstood in scholarship, they are revealed to have pursued, despite persecution, a consistent reform program from the Meaux experiment to the end of Francis I’s reign through a variety of means: fostering local church reform, publishing a large corpus of religious literature, high-profile public preaching, and attempting to shape the direction of royal policy. Their distinctive doctrines, relations with major reformers – including their erstwhile colleague Calvin – involvement in major Reformation events, and the impact of their unsuccessful attempt are all explored.
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Biographical Note

Jonathan A. Reid, Ph.D. (2001), in History, University of Arizona, is Associate Professor of History at East Carolina University. He is a former Research Fellow on the Sixteenth Century French Vernacular Book Project, University of St. Andrews.

Review Quotes

This work is necessary reading for any scholar of sixteenth-century France, whether interested in Marguerite, in the early Reformation in France, or in the political and religious tides that affected the king’s reactions to religious reform.
Barbara Stephenson (Idaho State University), Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 4 (Winter 2012), pp. 1260-1261, DOI: 10.1086/669406

“In this richly illustrated, well-written history, Jonathan Reid casts a bright light on the early decades of religious dissent in France. He offers a new appreciation of the role played by Marguerite de Navarre and a cast of players he calls “the Navarrian network” in efforts to establish religious reform in France and beyond. […] King’s Sister shows that the dissimulation Calvin viewed as hypocrisy was, all along, a strategy of the Navarrian network, one that allowed them to survive and work clandestinely for reform. If they failed, it was not for lack of trying. […] This summary cannot do justice to the wealth of sources and the insightful use of them that Reid brings to this argument. His book is a major contribution.”
Mary B. McKinley, University of Virginia. In: Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 42, No. 2 (2011), pp. 498-500.

"This is an important book for French Reformation history, fleshing out a domain of evangelical activities which has until now remained poorly articulated. Reid's two-volume monograph brings together a wealth of sources and scholarship in a new and persuasive analysis of early reform activities and writing under Marguerite de Navarre's patronage and leadership. Reid interrogates each issue he covers in great depth, footnotes indicating the full extent of his impressive research, but his arguments are presented in a highly engaging manner, making this a text potentially suitable for classroom use and scholars alike."
Susan Broomhall, The University of Western Australia. In: H-France Review, Vol. 10 (July 2010), pp. 404-407.

“This is a scholarly work, fluently written and clearly organised, with extensive footnotes. In addition, the reader is immediately struck by its handsome presentation […], which does credit to the press as well as to the author.”
Penny Roberts, University of Warwick. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 63, No. 2 (April 2012), pp. 404-405.

"une contribution d’érudition digne du protagoniste qui en forme le principal sujet, une œuvre magistrale que tout spécialiste de Marguerite de Navarre ou du fait religieux du XVIe siècle se devra de lire."
Gary Ferguson, University of Delaware. In: Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes, Vol. 18 (2009).

Table of contents

List of Tables
Abbreviations and Short Titles

Resolving a Riddle: Marguerite of Navarre and the Early French Reformation
A Twofold Riddle
French Reformation Historiography: The “Magnificent Anarchy”
Structure of Study

1. The Early Reformation in France
Evangelical Growth
The Crisis of Evangelicalism
The Reformed Ascendancy

2. Mapping the Navarrian Network
Contemporary Signposts
Sources for Reconstructing the Navarrian Network
Dramatis Personae

3. The Valois Trinity Takes Power: New Regime and Church Reform, 1515–1521
The Royal Trinity
Marguerite: The Trinity’s Minor Partner and Her New Powers
Marguerite’s Support of Francis’s Rule: Foreign Affairs and the Concordat
The Royal Family’s Religion and Late Medieval Reform
Leading Characteristics of Marguerite’s Religion

4. The Fabrist Background to the Navarrian Network
“Ante illustrationem Evangelii:” Evangelical Self-awareness
The Fabrists’ Career
From “Barbarian Captivity” to the “Babylonian Captivity:” The Restoration
of Learning
Before Meaux: A Season of Growth and Strife
Prepared but not Destined for Meaux

5. The Meaux Experiment I: From Clerical Reform to Evangelical Renewal, 1518–1523
Clerical Reform to 1521
Evangelical Renewal, 1521–1523

6. The Meaux Experiment II: Model for National Reform, 1521–1523
Briçonnet’s ‘Band’ and ‘Captain’ Marguerite
A Reform Program Rebuffed, Fall 1522
The Cold War Heats Up, May–December 1523
The Bourges Breakout: November 1523–February 1524

7. From Meaux to Madrid: The Network Knits Together, 1524–1526
Birth of the Network: An International “Fraternal Alliance”
The French Evangelical Reform Program and the German Connection
The Invention of the French Evangelical Press in 1525
Leadership and Strategy – Doctrine and Purpose

8. Resurrecting King and Reform, 1525–1530
The King in Captivity and Reform in Exile, 1525–1526
Reform Held Hostage, 1526–1530

9. Legitimating the Evangelical Movement, 1531–1539
Prologues to the Paris Campaign
Evangelical Buildup and Breakdown in Paris, 1533–1534
An Improbable Religious Concord, 1533–1536

10. The ‘Sons of Apollo’ in the Service of Christ
Poets as Religious Leaders
Polemics and Piety

11. Evangelical Diplomacy and Religious Dissimulation, 1540–1549
“The Emperor is Hypocrisy and the Pope the Devil:” Evangelical Diplomacy at the Court of Francis I, 1540–1547
Building Evangelical Institutions: Claude Baduel and Gérard Roussel
The Dynamics of Separation: The Navarrian Network and Calvin

Towards the Wars of Religion

Appendix A. Additions and Corrections to the Correspondence of Marguerite of Navarre
Additions and Corrections
Index: Changes to Letter Numbers

Appendix B. Books Related to the Navarrian Network
I. A Checklist of Books Related to the Navarrian Network
II. Manuscript Books of the Navarrian Network
III. The Navarrian Network’s Reading List 1524

Manuscript Sources
The Correspondence of Marguerite of Navarre: Manuscript and Printed Sources
Printed Primary Sources and Secondary Literature



All those interested in the social and intellectual history of the Reformation, Renaissance literature, early printed books, and early modern politics.


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