Mémoires en exil (Documents) (French Edition)


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The great wave of refugees of the s brought additional master printers such as Jean Crespin, Conrad Badius, and Robert Estienne, as well as upward of a hundred printing workers. The wealthy ex-mayor of Noyon, Laurent de Normandie, began actively financing new projects and developed a network of over two hundred colporteurs and booksellers to distribute Genevan books across France. Against this massive Genevan effort one can only oppose, for the years prior to , a dozen works published by Etienne Dolet in Lyon before his execution in ; some two dozen titles produced in Strasbourg; a few rare titles in Emden, Lausanne, and Basel, these last significant because they include anti-Calvinist voices such as Castellio and Acontius; and some French Bibles produced in Lyon in the s Evangelical books are defined as Bibles, extracts from the Bible, and reformist or devotional tracts that appeal primarily to the textor authority of Scripture.

The statistics concerning Antwerp are incomplete after This category includes at least 43 books published in Latin. Basle and France in the Sixteenth Century: Not only, as table 1 shows, did Genevan printers turn out substantially more evangelical books in French than all of the places where Italian exiles settled did in Italian. The chief author and distributor from exile of Italian-language evangelical propaganda, Vergerio, had to solicit charity from near and far to fund his publishing efforts.

Trunks containing his books were often intercepted in transport, forcing him to distribute his tracts primarily by slipping them into letters sent to a network of correspondents across Italy. This in turn restricted the size and length of what he could write. Few extended theological treatises, vernacular Bibles, or important devotional works made their way into Italy after mid-century, just when Genevan production for the French market was exploding.

Whether because the trade routes into Italy could be more easily policed, because the Italian exile community never found its Laurent de Normandie, because no Italian-speaking city ever offered exiles the enduring political protection and commercial infrastructure that Geneva provided, because Calvin turned away from Italy to focus more on France as the years passed, or, most likely, because of the combination of all of these reasons, no center of Italian exile could ever produce the same volume of religious propaganda or dominate the debate about religious change as thoroughly as Geneva did for the French Protestant movement between and The domain of ecclesiology illustrates this.

The importance of pastors coming from Geneva vis a vis those coming from other refugee centers or formed within France offers particularly revealing insights into both the mechanisms and limits of Genevan and Calvinist influence over the French Protestant movement.


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This was the assembly in Meaux founded in by a group of men who had observed the workings of the French church of Strasbourg. Calvin, of course, had been the first pastor of this church during the period between his first and second Genevan ministry One of these, in Paris, was founded by several individuals who had come to reject Catholic ceremonies and wished to have a community that could administer the sacraments properly.

It chose as its first minister one of its number who had spent some time in Geneva but had not been ordained a minister there. The history of the emergence of the other early church, that of Poitiers, is not entirely clear but suggests both greater dependence upon and greater tension with Geneva. In Calvin wrote two letters to the brethren there advising them how to establish a church.

The Histoire ecclesiastique , however, credits the establishment of the church to a minister, Pierre Chrestien, who does not seem ever to have visited Geneva and may not have been very favorably inclined to Calvin, if a report from the hostile but often well informed Florimond de Raemond is reliable. Those in Poitiers who sought a minister from Geneva may have been a fraction of the church that disliked the direction in which the current of ideas was running in the city Another Genevan document of late or early shows fully men sent out in French churches also sent questions to Calvin for his advice and directed copies of documents drafted within France to him for approval.

But Geneva was not the only place of origin or training of the ministers who flocked into France in this period. A significant sub-group of the ministers who appear in the Genevan lists had served the Pays de Vaud in the years prior to , when a dispute within that region over the matter of discipline led thirty ministers to resign in protest, freeing them up for missionary work in France. Among these was Pierre Viret. Faced with pleas from throughout the kingdom for desperately needed ministers in the subsequent two years, the Bernese authorities also authorized the six classes of the Pays de Vaud each to detach another minister to serve in France, while still other Vaudois ministers are known to have simply left their posts to go to France Twenty-five ministers left that region Clearly many churches could not have been founded or staffed by ministers coming from Geneva or other well established foreign churches.

Their initial pastors had to be sent from other churches already established within France or trained on the spot. Typically, the history of those French churches whose early ministers have been studied in any detail reveals that they came from both inside and outside France.

In Troyes, what became the Reformed church began in with a group that assembled for prayer but not the sacraments that was formed around a woolcarder and former member of the short-lived Meaux church of the s who had lived at least briefly after that in Geneva. In this period of both high danger and dramatic growth for the faith, ministers often were moved quickly from one place to another for their safety. After this first minister was arrested and then liberated by force from the hands of the authorities, four other ministers arrived to serve the church in the next three years.

Further west around Montauban, however, Genevan influence was weaker. One of their number had just returned from Paris, where he had joined the Reformed church.


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  4. But local records indicate that already in the preceding year large armed crowds had already gathered frequently to sing psalms in the streets. One group attacked the Augustinian monastery. He does not seem ever to have been to Geneva. The church grew quickly and aggressively. It sent pleas to Geneva for more ministers, but one did not come until May , and when he arrived he was appalled at the disrespect shown the established authorities by the faithful, had trouble integrating himself into the church, and soon left. A militant native son who had also spent some time in Geneva replaced him.

    Most of the rest of the plus ministers who subsequently served the church until were other native sons who never saw Geneva. It must also be remembered that the foundation of new congregations was not necessarily the sole or natural end point of hopes and agitation for religious change in this period. In parts of the Southwest and Vivarais where agitation was particularly intense in , there were places where the churches had been purged of their idols, the mass had been forced to cease, monks had left the cloister to marry, but no regular services of any new sort had been put in their place, perhaps because of a lack of intense local demand as well as an absence of even minimally trained ministers Then there were the unknown number of individuals who hoped for reform of the established church without schism or the creation of an alternative church structured differently from that which took shape in France.

    Many of these people, too, had been exiles, but their biographies often show acquaintance with a number of different foreign churches, and their time in Geneva was often marked by conflict with Calvin or Beza that turned them against their ideas Not every exile who went to Geneva agreed with John Knox that it was the most perfect school of Christ since the time of the apostles. Certain practices found in some local and regional churches were modeled after other foreign churches.

    Session VII. Les églises du refuge et les lieux d’exil

    This decreed that the ministers of a given area were to assemble to discuss matters of common interest every two or four weeks. Their colloques were in turn grouped into larger classes that were to assemble every three months, attended by the ministers of the region as well as a deacon or elder of each church.

    Within each unit, a minister was also to be elected to carry out regular visitations of every church. Pierre Viret brought this system to Languedoc from the Pays de Vaud and played the key role in convincing the provincial synod of Languedoc to establish it there. The system endured until , when the national synod rejected the system of visitations by elected doyens It identifies four kinds of ministers within the church.

    Other institutional features of the French Reformed churches arose from improvisation to meet the needs of a group of churches developing in opposition to the established authorities within a vast kingdom.

    The Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois

    The office of diacre-catechiste is one example of this. Others include the role French consistories came to play not simply as agents of discipline, but also as institutions of church administration and, in certain contexts, political lobby or decision making; and most importantly the presbyterial-synodal structure of the overall church, with its ascending system of representation and descending system of authority The foundations of this system were laid at the first national synod of the church in , which was itself a striking illustration of the mix of local initiative and Genevan influence in the construction of the French Reformed churches.

    Calvin rushed a draft confession of faith to the assembly that was adopted for the church, but fundamental principles of church organization fixed at the assembly, notably the principle that no church may pretend domination over any other and the construction of regional and national synods with authority over broad questions of doctrine and discipline, were developed independently. Later, Strasbourg and London housed significant refugee churches. Their members may have numbered in the hundreds whereas Geneva sheltered thousands of French refugees. Nonetheless, they too entered into contact with and served as models of organization for groups of the faithful within France.

    In many cases, this became preparation for these men to return home as pastors. As the disparate groups of believers began to organize more permanent church structures, first locally and then nationally, much of the impetus to do so came from within the kingdom. All this has been too often overlooked or underestimated. If French Protestantism ultimately came to seem synonymous with Reformed Protestantism of a Genevan stripe, it should be obvious that other outcomes were possible too.

    From this one city came the overwhelming majority of the French-language evangelical books published between and From it came many of the ministers who played a critical role in establishing a structured network of alternative churches between and and who militated to see that these churches operated in similar fashion. The preceding paper reminds us that Geneva also played the same role in the construction of enduring churches in the Waldensian valleys of the Piedmont.

    That other centers of exile were also important serves to underscore that if Geneva ultimately came to seem the fons et origo of French Protestantism, this was not because it was the only place that could have assumed such a role, but because in the absence of a strong guild regime it proved unusually hospitable to refugees, and especially because certain of the refugees who settled there proved unusually determined, creative, and dogged in their efforts to reach out to their brethren left behind in France and to direct the diverse influences and impulses found within French evangelical circles into channels that they considered proper.

    Pride of place here goes to Calvin and Beza, of course, but the remarkable system for financing, producing, and distributing Protestant literature created by Laurent de Normandie also requires highlighting. The Genevan primacy within French Protestantism required considerable struggle to establish. They defended the presbyterial-synodal alternative made in France so energetically that it came to be seen as characteristically Genevan, even when it was not.

    In the end, their efforts gave the French Protestant movement the structures it needed to survive as a minority church in a hostile kingdom.


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    It can also be wondered how much potential support for the cause they alienated through their sharp treatment of all those who disagreed with them and their considerable capacity for making enemies. This paper was originally to have been written by Bernard Roussel, but personal reasons forced him to withdraw from the conference. I would like to thank him for so generously sharing his preliminary thoughts about the subject, which aided me in the initial formulation of this paper and facilitated my completing the assignment.

    All responsibility for the essay is, of course, mine. For other expressions of a similar point of view, see B. Sunshine, Reforming French Protestantism: Bietenholz, Basle and France in the Sixteenth Century: To estimate their demographic impact on the city, this number must be multiplied by the average size of their families.

    Numéros en texte intégral

    To judge by a list of church members, roughly a third of church members hailed from the kingdom of France. Kirk, London, Publications of the Huguenot Society of London , 10 , I, , for the breakdown of the church by geographic origin in Pettegree, Foreign Protestant Communities The problem of representation occurs as a fundamental motif in of these memoirs which place the question of self-representation in the context of the codes of political and social representation. The Valois understood their exercise of power within a Neo-Platonic framework in which politics was an imitation of cosmic harmony.

    To rule was at once a public relations exercise and a dream, one which the events from the s until the end of the century proved to be cruelly ill-founded.

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    The reality of human action was grounded in pragmatic approach that derived, at best, from Aristotle and, at worst, from Machiavelli himself, or even from a French reception of Machiavelli that had twisted his thought into a polemical weapon for use against Catherine and her children. In the Memoirs , Marguerite offers the self-portrait of someone shaped by experience and by a learning process that led her to uncouple appearances from reality.

    In the process, she paradoxically discovered within herself the dualities that writing allowed her to express. They interrogate the correspondence between being and appearance and question the unity of being over time. The Neo-Platonic notion of representation, according to which a beautiful appearance corresponds to an unchanging nature, does not convey the truth of being. The Memoirs paint a portrait of their author engaged in a kind of apprenticeship, which allows her little by little to recognise the prudence of the political players around her, but which also permits her to partially adopt this virtue, if not politically, at least insofar as it enriches into her literary style.

    The claim to truth, which governs the book, conflicts with the complex relationship between interiority and exteriority. The Memoirs are not content to record facts and observable data; they map out the internal space in which decisions are made and feelings are born, and they seek in various ways to describe the relationship between these two spheres.

    This experience is fundamental to the pragmatics of politics, but it is also more universal, and in this sense shapes identity. Furthermore, Protestantism questioned the link between religion and forms of observance. Beginning with the depiction of childhood, each section deals with one or another aspect of this question. The next episode p. The episode that follows p. On the other hand, it has a very definite historical significance The description concludes with her recalling a storm that put an end to the party. Marguerite depicts it in this way: It thus reaffirms the power of the celebration organized by the Valois, all the while underlining the vanity involved.

    According to historians, the range of details recalled by Marguerite reflects her understanding of the political stakes involved in these spectacles The subtle opposition between nature and Fortune links this episode to those that precede it, as well as to the incipit.

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    The text thus takes its place as part of a narrative in which each section involves the problem of representation. In three movements, Marguerite shows the prudence displayed by Catherine and Henri in their use of words, the feelings of each member of the family and the instrumental function that the family as a whole is forced to fulfill. Marguerite plays on the different registers of representation in order to show how these registers dictate behavior and how she herself learns little by little to recognise them and no longer simply to endure their effects.

    The series of episodes leading up to the wedding and the Saint Bartholomew massacre heighten these effects. She follows in the footsteps of Commynes, who drew pragmatic and moral lessons from his observation of history. The interpretative model she proposes is similar to certain modern analyses of the French court as a sphere of representation and of the political use of representation as an instrument of domination, notably those of Norbert Elias 27 and Louis Marin Each episode turns the court into a sphere of display where the great and the good are no longer divine incarnations referred to by the rhetorical device of antonomasia and featured in court parties 31 , but rather actors in a tragi-comedy.

    Mémoires d'exil - Episode 3 - Le Tsarévitch de Biarritz

    Torn between two models of masculinity as a young child, she was rejected by her brother who considered her at best a reflection of his own worth and an instrument to be used. Another striking example of this phenomenon lies in the account of the embassy of the king of Portugal: It makes manifest a repressed subjectivity, far removed from the facade constructed for the purposes of court life.

    The Queen of Navarre could then speak and assume the choice of this marriage that had been imposed upon her. The framing of the narrative and the arrangement of its motifs offer an anthropological and political perspective that shows how difficult it is for the individuals to construct themselves in a world where taking on an identity amounts to disappearing.

    Over the course of these episodes, the Memoirs tell of a growing gap between inward being and the world and the emergence of a subjectivity suspicious of appearances. Reading allows us to discover the Good and to recognise God within ourselves. Marguerite explains of how her captivity in the Louvre converted her to reading, which permitted her to detach herself from a universe of deception in order to learn about the world in books and to recognise the innermost self, the home of knowledge and devotion.

    One episode in particular seems to represent this phenomenon through another mise en abyme. Marguerite depicts herself with Catherine, who is questioning her about the escape of her brother: She experiences the powers of language and its capacity to shape the individual in her relationship to others. Here, Marguerite underscores the disjunction between appearances and inner feelings: This dialectical relationship is illustrated in the depiction of a surprising character: And, turning to me so that she could not hear him, he said: The cynical philosopher is a model of philosophical and linguistic irony, of the way literature as a mode of thinking and verbal expression shapes the individual.

    Marguerite thus uses the resources of writing in order to create a flexible space in which the individual avoids being constrained, puts her subjectivity to use and shapes her authorial identity. She exposes the individual to the world of knowledge and reshapes this world according to her experience, an experience consisting of prudent confrontation, of inadequate analogies and of ironic distancing. Marguerite shows that the individual is constituted through her dialogue with others. But this same introduction reveals the complexity of this largely polyphonic form of speech.

    Marguerite is Rome p. Her childhood becomes the starting point of the Memoirs , as is the life of Theseus in Parallel Lives , translated by Amyot. This inappropriate reworking of a reference calls attention to the choices made by the author and calls into question her position vis a vis the reader.

    Marguerite points out the difficulty of distinguishing myth from history in autobiography as well as in biography: This learned reference allows her to lay claim to the double authority of both Amyot and Plutarch and invites comparisons between the great men of the Lives and the protagonist of the autobiography. But the parallel is rejected as soon as it is made. Marguerite thus opens up an indeterminate space, comparable to the terrae incognitae she first mentions, in which the reader is to create the picture of her life. The process of constructing an identity becomes even more complex in the following paragraph, with the anecdote in which Henri II asks the child to choose between two boys.

    We are thus encouraged to compare this anecdote with the ones already mentioned. Perhaps they also show her prudence. On the other hand, one might wonder if the anecdote dealing with Alexander should not at least be read allegorically since hunting was one of her regular pursuits p. In the space that opens up between authorised knowledge and the subject-object that she offers for consideration, Marguerite claims her authorial freedom.

    Similarly, when Henri asks her to be his representative to Catherine during his absence, she facetiously refers to a famous biblical passage: The reference to this famous passage of the Old Testament moreover evokes the solemnity of a Protestant rhetoric that interprets history as a form of foreshadowing. We are thus encouraged to read the quotation ironically, as a mise en abyme of the way Marguerite finds her own voice through her dialogue with the authority figures of her brother and mother.

    I began to grow in confidence, and I said to him: Marguerite thus shapes her story as one in which a speaking subject learns to dissociate what is said from the person speaking, and to discern difference notwithstanding her desire to be on equal footing with her brothers. Experience is the form of knowledge that allows us to understand what is singular. And it is by observing others in comparative perspective that we get to know what it is to be human.

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