Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Romance Languages and Literatures: French Language and Literature


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Colette Winn


This study seeks to demonstrate that female patrons at the Valois court--particularly Marguerite de France, and, to a lesser extent Diane de Poitiers--had a defining influence on both the career and the aesthetic choices of the sixteenth-century French poet Joachim Du Bellay. Although it has often been acknowledged that Du Bellay and Marguerite enjoyed a special relationship, the current study reveals the extent to which Marguerite served as an organizing principal for Du Bellay's entire writing life. As an admired patron, she provided moral support and networking opportunities that encouraged and rewarded Du Bellay's poetic production; her erudition and literary tastes shaped Du Bellay's choice of forms. His more limited writing for Diane de Poitiers contrasts with the work he dedicated to Marguerite and reflects an equally careful attempt to match form to patron. Written in a period when definitions of form and genre were fluid and contradictory, Du Bellay's rarely studied occasional poems to female patrons offer evidence that his poetic practice, examined in its social context, can provide useful insights into his conception of form.


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