Marguerite de Navarre

An outstanding writer of the late Renaissance, Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549) was born in the year Columbus discovered the Americas and is sometimes referred to as the First Modern Woman.  Although Catholic she married the Huegenot prince and later King of Navarre in France. ٍاShe was outspoken on behalf of religious tolerance and attempted to mediate between the purges and religious wars and prejudice.  She was also the hostess to the aging Leonardo da Vinci who died while in residence as a guest of the King and Queen of Navarre.  Her great literary work, The Heptameron of the Tales is influenced by various styles of scholastic dialogue and storytelling that show her reading and familiarity with the works of Boccaccio and Dante.  She also hosted literary salons and was a patron of leading French writers of the 16th century including Francois Rabelais (1483-1553) author of Gargantua and Pantegreul and corresponded with the great humanist Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, author of In Praise of Folly.


Marguerite de Navarre (portrait from Wikepedia)