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The Women’s Framed-Novelle: The French Tradition

  • Josephine Donovan

Abstract

The framed-novelle was the dominant genre in prose fiction in the late medieval to early modern period, until it was superceded by the novel. It is an assemblage of short tales that are linked by a frame narrative, usually that of the social interaction among the story tellers. The best known example is probably Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron (1353). Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (ca. 1387–1400) uses the frame format but the inset tales are in verse and therefore are not novellas, which are in prose. Like the early novel, the framed-novelle was “a literary genre without status, often alleged to be written for women and thus not to be taken seriously.”1

Keywords

Frame Format Early Modern Period Woman Writer Literary Genre Feminist Standpoint 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Robert J. Clements and Joseph Gibaldi, Anatomy of the Novella (New York: New York University Press, 1977), p. 183. Further references follow in the text.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    See Katherine S. Gittes, Framing the Canterbury Tales (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1991).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Erich Auerbach, Zur Technik der Frührenaissancenovelle in Italien und Frankreich, 2d ed. (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1971), pp. vi, 19–20, 24–28;Google Scholar
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    Juliet Mitchell, Psychoanalysis and Feminism (New York: Vintage, 1975), p. 408. Emphasis in original.Google Scholar
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  19. 17.
    Giovanni Boccaccio, Il Decameron (Turin: Guilio Einaudi, 1966), p. 157; The Decameron, trans. Richard Aldington (New York: Dell, 1966), p. 167. Further references follow in the text.Google Scholar
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  21. 19.
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  22. 21.
    Denis Baril and Gabriel-André Perouse, “Histoire du Texte,” Contes amoureux par Madame Jeanne Flore, éd. Gabriel-A. Perouse et al. (Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 1980), pp. 9–15. Further references to this edition follow in the text. My translations throughout.Google Scholar
  23. 22.
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    Pierre Jourda, Marguerite d’Angoulême (Paris: Champion, 1930), pp. 1288, 518, 534. Further references follow in the text. My translations throughout.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Marguerite de Navarre, The Heptameron, ed. and trans. P. A. Chilton (London: Penguin, 1984), p. 68; L’Heptaméron, ed. M. François (Paris: Garnier, 1991), p. 9. Further references follow in the text.Google Scholar

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© Josephine Donovan 1999

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  • Josephine Donovan

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