The Politics of Print During the French Wars of Religion

Literature and History in an Age of “Nothing Said Too Soon”


In The Politics of Print During the French Wars of Religion, Gregory Haake examines how, in late sixteenth-century France, authors and publishers used the new medium of the printed text to control the terms of public discourse and determine history, or at least their narrative of it.
The creativity of the Renaissance ushered in new instability of discourse and a decline of traditional centres of authority. Gregory Haake shows that poets, authors, printers, and polemicists — including historians, such as Simon Goulart; the great poets of the time, such as Pierre de Ronsard or Agrippa d’Aubigné; or anonymous authors of polemical texts — rushed in to take advantage of discursive uncertainty to discredit their enemies and shape the meaning of history as it unfolded.

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Gregory P. Haake, Ph.D. (2015), Stanford University, is Assistant Professor of French at the University of Notre Dame. He has published articles on politics, religion, and literature in early modern France, as well as on lyric poetry.
"La force de cet ouvrage réside dans son effort pour résoudre trois problèmes épineux : le premier, traiter de Vernon Sullivan avec sérieux et dans son intégralité ; le deuxième s’attaquer à l’hétéronymie--notion majoritairement développée pour le compte de Pessoa ; le troisième créer une nouvelle typologie opérationnelle pour étudier les canulars, plagiats, hoax… Derrière cette étude, se trouve une position ontologique affirmée : la figure de l’auteur entendue comme une entité indépendante de l’écrivain. Ce dédoublement de l’auteur ouvre de nombreuses perspectives de recherches, et en premier lieu une réévaluation du couple traditionnel auteur/narrateur."
- Cécile Pajona,Université Côte d’Azur, in H-France Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2021

"Respectful toward primary materials, Haake also treats previous scholarship conscientiously, carefully canvasing, summarizing, and measuring decades of study across a wide range of topics and approaches."
- George Hoffmann, University of Michigan, in Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2021


1 Crisis
 1 The Crisis of Representation
 2 The Crisis of Interpretation
 3 The Crisis of Authority
 4 Conclusion

2 Fanatics, Martyrs, and the Rhetoric of Extremes
 1 “Le bon & saint zele”: Extreme Devotion to the Cause
 2 Tyranny: The Extremes of Princely Rule
 3 The Rhetoric of Martyrdom
 4 Conclusion

3 Print Matters
 1 The Power of a Preface
 2 Sacred Scripture: A Charged Textual Frame
 3 Poetic Interludes: Framing Texts with Verse
 4 De l’estrange et subite mort de Henri de Valois
 5 Conclusion

4 Recreating Authority in the Person(a) of the Author
 1 Ronsard’s Political Intervention and Personal Attacks
 2 Teaching through Drama: Jean de La Taille and Saül le Furieux
 3 Experience Knows Best: Finding Authority in Foreignness
 4 Prometheus and Prophet: Stealing the Truth for the Reader
 5 Conclusion

5 The Mémoire of the Advocate David and the Discrediting of the Guises
 1 The Treason of the Guises: The Mémoire and Papal Authority
 2 Lyon Looks South: An Alternative Emphasis for the Mémoire
 3 Making It Stick: The Enduring Nature of the Mémoire as a Political Attack
 4 Conclusion

6 The Truth at the Source
 1 From Calumny to Exaltation: Seeking Unity and Truth in the Wisdom of the Past
 2 Excessive and Repetitive Citation
 3 Arming the Resistance: Differing Approaches Among Monarchomachs
 4 Obstacles to Hotman’s Success

Conclusion: Finding a Way Out
All interested in the French wars of religion and in the influence of literary discourse on politics.