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'Europe' in Renaissance France: The word, its uses and contexts (c.1540-1620)

ODDY, NIALL,MARTIN (2017) 'Europe' in Renaissance France: The word, its uses and contexts (c.1540-1620). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis offers a study of the word ‘Europe’ in French Renaissance writing (c.1540- 1620). It uses the technique of close reading to analyse how the word was used in a variety of contexts and how it related to issues of significant cultural, social and political import, including the Reformation and the Wars of Religion, the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, and the discovery of the ‘New World’. In considering these contexts, the thesis moves beyond an analysis of the term Europe in order to examine instances where the word does not appear and to assess the significance of non-usage. The thesis contributes to the history of the idea of Europe in the sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries by illuminating how Europe was a flexible term that could be adopted by different writers for different purposes. In turn, the focus on Europe gives rise to new interpretations of French Renaissance texts. Chapter One compares the use of geographical discourse in Rabelais’s 'Quart Livre' and Apian’s 'Cosmographie'. Chapter Two examines the representation of communities and their boundaries in Montaigne’s 'Journal de voyage' and the cosmographies of Thevet and Belleforest. Chapter Three considers the impact of the Reformation on thinking about Europe by analysing Léry’s 'Histoire d’un voyage' and d’Aubigné’s 'Histoire universelle'. Chapter Four investigates the impact of the Ottoman Empire on ideas of Europe through an examination of the poetry of Ronsard and the political tracts of François Savary de Brèves, French ambassador to Constantinople. Chapter Five explores Europe in relation to the New World, contrasting the differing uses of the word Europe in Thevet’s 'Les Singularitez de la France antarctique' and Montaigne’s 'Essais'.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Europe; word history; French Wars of Religion; discovery of the 'New World'; European-Ottoman relations; Rabelais; Montaigne; Léry; d'Aubigné; Ronsard; François Savary de Brèves; Thevet; Belleforest
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 May 2017 11:57

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