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Labe, Louise (1520–1566)

Labe, Louise (15201566)

French poet born as Louise Charly in Lyon. The daughter of a rope maker, and later the wife of one, she was given the nickname La Belle Cordiere. She was educated in music and languages, and as a writer joined a prominent literary circle in Lyon. In 1555, the Lyon printer Jean de Tournes published her Euvres (Works), a volume of twenty-four love sonnets, an allegory entitled Debate Between Love and Madness, three elegies, and twenty-four poems written by others in her own praise. The book went through several editions, while the sonnets made her name among the School of Lyons and have survived as her best-known works. Labe fervently encouraged other women to exercise their new found freedoms to write, speak, study, and debate in the male-dominated world of letters. Her erotic love poetry, however, inspired scandal, as did a rumored penchant for dressing as a man. She was accused of being a courtesan and was condemned by reformers such as John Calvin.

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Labé, Louise

Louise Labé (lwēz läbā´), c.1520–1566, French poet. She was an active member of the so-called Lyons school of poets headed by Maurice Scève. Labé's elegies and sonnets, in Oeuvres (1555), are love poems notable for their passion and honesty. The wife of a rich rope-maker, she was nicknamed "La Belle Cordière."

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