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Poetry General

Sonnets of Louise Labé

by (author) Louise Labé

translated by Alta Lind Cook

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2018
General, General, Renaissance, French, Women Authors, Poetry
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2018
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The love sonnets of Louise Labé of Lyons and the gilded legend of her life in the early years of the French Renaissance have appealed to the imagination of four centuries.

Printed here beside the text of the 1556 edition, the translations of the sonnets by Alta Lind Cook follow closely the original version and admirably retain its sweep and movement, its simplicity and melody. The rhyme scheme of the Petrarchan sonnet has been preserved with variations and corresponding to those of the French. With the poems, the translator presents a sketch of the circumstances and background of this unique literary figure of the Sixteenth Century, known in France and outside of France as La Belle Cordière

These translations by Alta Lind Cook are fine poetry; in English as in French the reader finds "present reality in their hope and their despair, their independence and their impertinence, their tears and their sparkle."

About the authors

Louise Labé (1522–1566) is the most well-known and celebrated woman writer of non-noble birth from the French Renaissance. While her published work (Œuvres, 1555) is modest in length, the variety of genres she employs (epistle, sonnet, elegy, prose dialogue), the robust evidence of her proto-feminist vocation, her strength of voice, and her mastery of Petrarchan and Neoplatonic conventions have made of her a hugely important figure in the literature of this period.

Louise Labé's profile page

Alta Lind Cook was a professor in the French Department of Victoria College, University of Toronto.

Alta Lind Cook's profile page