In this book Floyd Gray explores how the treatment of controversial subjects in French Renaissance writing was affected both by rhetorical conventions and by the commercial requirements of an expanding publishing industry. Focusing on a wide range of discourses on gender issues - misogynist, feminist, autobiographical, homosexual and medical - Gray reveals the extent to which these marginalized texts reflect literary concerns rather than social reality. He then moves from a close analysis of the rhetorical factor in the Querelle des femmes to consider ways in which writing, as a textual phenomenon, inscribes its own, sometimes ambiguous, meaning. Gray offers richly detailed readings of writing by Rabelais, Jean Flore, Montaigne, Louise Labe, Pernette du Guillet and Marie de Gournay among others, challenging the inherent anachronism of those forms of criticism that fail to take account of the rhetorical and cultural conditions of the period.

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