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The Heptameron

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  710 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
In the early 1500s five men and five women find themselves trapped by floods and compelled to take refuge in an abbey high in the Pyrenees. When told they must wait days for a bridge to be repaired, they are inspired - by recalling Boccaccio's Decameron - to pass the time in a cultured manner by each telling a story every day. The stories, however, soon degenerate into a v ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published February 23rd 1984 by Penguin Classics (first published 1542)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Even had Marguerite de Navarre not written The Heptameron, the world of letters would be deeply indebted to her for her patronage of Rabelais and his genius novels about the giants Gargantua and Pantagruel. As it is, we owe her even more for her assemblage of a treasury of bawdy tales; a cycle which is consciously modeled upon Boccaccio’s Decameron.

Ten travelers, five women and five men, are delayed in their travels when a rainstorm washes out a bridge. While they await its rebuilding, they ente
Part of my incentive for reading books like these for my own pleasure (this copy of mine, purchased at a library sale, has a sticker from being checked out of a college reserves for a Medieval and Romance class) is encountering this chunk of the canon on my own terms before some future class sinks its claws into it. I wouldn't say that all first meetings with a text that occur in a classroom are doomed (Hamlet in my senior year of high school is a prime example), but enough of my past has been l ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Yann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ça faisait longtemps que je voulais lire ces histoires écrites sur le modèle du Décaméron de Boccace. Ici seulement sept journées au lieu des dix de l'italien pour Marguerite de Navarre(1492-1549), sœur de François Ier, mais c'est assez. J'ai apprécié la variété comme le piquant des situations, mais aussi les échanges animés et plein de sel de nos conteurs. Mais la lecture a été lente et parfois un peu pénible: le texte est en français d'époque, et ça demande un effort d'adaptation un peu usant
Lee Foust
May 01, 2013 Lee Foust rated it it was amazing
Well, it turns out that one of my favorite literary forms is what the editor of the Penguin edition of Jan Potocki's novel The Manuscript Found in Saragossa has dubbed "The novel in frames." This form would be a collection of tales recounted (specifically, usually stories bearing traces of an oral tradition; they were called novellas in the Middle Ages when this form was most prevalent) within some sort of frame-story pulling the disparate tales collected into a cohesive narrative whole of one t ...more
Roman Clodia
Marguerite de Navarre was the sister of Francis I of France and so was the grandmother of Henri de Navarre, and the great-aunt of Marguerite, better known as 'la reine Margot' from the Dumas novel and far more fabulous film.

Although her authorship is disputed, the Heptameron is usually attributed to her, and first appeared in print in the mid-1500s. Inspired by Boccaccio's The Decameron, this uses a similar framework of a group of noble French men and women trapped and taking refuge in a flood:
Czarny Pies
Jun 09, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in history or literature
Recommended to Czarny by: Une prof de litérture à l'universite de Montréal
Shelves: favorites, french-lit
The Heptameron is an extremely important historical document and great work of literature. The author was the Queen of Navarre and mother of Jeanne d'Albret who will become the Queen of France and will play a major role in the success of the Calvinist Reformation in France. From the Heptameron one gains tremendous insight into the values and social attitudes of the aristocratic classes that were about to wreck havoc in Europe.

Marguerite de Navarre was a serious minded woman who viewed the conven
Oct 30, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing
I hope de Navarre is suing the makers of the Tudors. I really do.

Talk about your love triangles.
Jul 09, 2012 Marie rated it really liked it
In the early sixteenth century, a group of nobles are gathered in a monastery, awaiting the repair of a bridge so they can return to the French court. They decide to pass the time telling tales, with the caveat that every tale told must be true, and must es with the question of whether women or men are more virtuous.

Queen Marguerite de Navarre composed the stories, it is said, while lying in her litter, and based the story-tellers on members of her court. The prolog of this edition includes scho
Roman Clodia
Marguerite de Navarre was the sister of Francis I of France and so was the grandmother of Henri de Navarre, and the great-aunt of Marguerite, better known as 'la reine Margot' from the Dumas novel.

Although her authorship is disputed, the Heptameron is usually attributed to her, and first appeared in print in the mid-1500s. Inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron, this uses a similar framework of a group of noble French men and women trapped and taking refuge in a flood: in order to amuse themselves, t
Oct 12, 2016 verbava rated it it was ok
оповідання маргарити наваррської трохи втомлюють, але трапляються в них речі, від яких тяжко відірватися (і які в момент написання були непомітні): асиметрія статей – що для чоловіка легкі розваги, те для жінки привід бути довічно ув'язненою в кімнаті зі скелетом свого коханця; виправдання згвалтувань – і взагалі, вона сама дражнилася, руки показувала; ідея честі – поки ніхто не помітив, то й честь незаплямована, але якщо вже гулянки вийшли на яв, лишається хіба зарізатися; принципове розрізненн ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Bruce rated it liked it
I read through day one of the seven days of stories. They are all a lot alike, dealing with sexual mores and shenanigans among (mostly) the nobility in 16th century France. More interesting is the author herself, Marguerite, Queen of Navarre (1492-1549) and loving sister of Francis I. Her religious sympathies lay with those trying to reform the church. She used her position to protect those favoring reform in France. She came very close to being charged a heretic, but in turn was sheltered by he ...more
Scribble Orca
Jun 22, 2013 Scribble Orca marked it as to-be-consideread
Recommended to Scribble by: Navarre's Rabelais
Alle likes faucet review may be de-posited without hecitation here like wise ADshuns auch.

Meanwhile, lettuce sea wots drin. Et Comment!
Literature of 1550s France, 15 February 2015

This review is from: The Heptameron (Classics) (Kindle Edition)
Attributed to Marguerite of Navarre and set in mid-1500s Europe, this is an intriguing collection of seventy-two stories.
With a similar framework to the Canterbury Tales and the Decameron, the narrators - five men and five women of noble background - are thrown together in an abbey in the Pyrenees following a flood. As they wait for a bridge to be built, they entertain themselves by tellin
Jul 20, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: 100-novels
A fascinating 16th century proto-novel addressing love, sex and religion. The book is actually a collection of short stories told in turns by a group of nobles stuck in the mountains. It's modeled on the Decameron, but it's more serious and at the same time more interesting. The characters discuss each story after it's been told, often focusing on whether men or women are more virtuous, loving, and cunning, better able to carry off a tryst, and more suited to get into heaven. They also rail rele ...more
had a quiet, alone evening to finish this book. I only picked it out because it was a favorite of Coco Chanel (go figure) according to the new bio i read. It's got a hefty intro/blahdeeblah :) sorry :)
which i sort of read for sort of understanding? but honestly the whole thing is an eye roller.
I know i was supposed to get a lot more out of this book, but apparently it was a little too quiet where i was reading...
Nov 13, 2011 Kelly added it
In the Heptameron the author does an amazing job with dialogue and inserting herself in the piece. The author creatively put her views in her work, but using multiple characters and third person, never once saying “I” as herself. This strategy is difficult to achieve because most people wish to just write of their opinions; however she did this but through other means. She gets the reader’s attention through each characters view on a subject and through tales that they tell which must be true. S ...more
Aug 09, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing
Since I just wrote about the DECAMERON . . . .

This I almost have actually read in its entirety (it's shorter than Boccaccio). Someone else described it as being more or less the French version of the CANTERBURY TALES. Sort of, yeah. I'm not sure I'd place Navarre on equal footing with Chaucer, but there are plenty of similarities, except that Navarre is a lot easier and probably more fun to read. I would describe it more like Gogol meets Boccaccio, in France. Don't assign it to high school stude
Jul 01, 2016 Lindsey rated it really liked it
This book was required reading for a World Lit course, and was a selection of the stories, so I have not read the entirety of The Heptameron. However, the stories were wonderful, and I enjoyed the framework style of writing. Compared to other framework stories studied in the course, this was by far my favorite. The female perspective of the author made it more enjoyable for a modern female reader, as so much 'old' literature is painted by the societal views of females at the time. It's not that ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Sara rated it liked it
I read this after taking a course on Medieval Women's Lit and I liked it more than I thought I would. We had discussed the Decameron in class multiple times which always led to a discussion on this book. We didn't actually read it in class because I think our professor was trying to stay away from women who, during that time period, had free reign (literally in Navarre's case) to do as they pleased. Still though, the thought of reading something written by a princess of France who was inspired b ...more
Michelle Szetela
May 28, 2015 Michelle Szetela rated it really liked it
It took me until tonight to even read a third of the stories in this collection. They're good stories, but there's a repetition to them (men are or are not virtuous; women are or are not virtuous; members of the clergy are or are not virtuous, etc.) that gets tiring after awhile. Essentially it was a somewhat entertaining means of interaction between characters who wished to argue the ways in which groups of people are good or bad - a version of the Decameron.

At this point I'm putting the book
James Violand
Aug 18, 2014 James Violand rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: own
Along with Boccaccio and Chaucer, Marguerite compiled a book wherein various characters spout tales to their fellow pilgrims/survivors/stranded travelers while waiting for their ordeal to end. The Queen of Navarre comes off poorly by comparison. Whereas The Decameron was compelling and The Canterbury Tales mildly amusing, The Heptameron was excrutiatingly boring. Marguerite wrote scandalous tales of nobility engaged in adultery. Few could identify with any of these tales. Avoid this book. If I c ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Mindy rated it it was ok
I only read a few stories from this book for, once again, my LIT class.
I read: First Day: Story 5,Fourth Day: Story 32 and 36, Eighth Day: Prologue and Story 71.
Overall based on these stories, I thought they were okay, nothing special. Maybe it's because the topics of faithless spouses and corrupt religious figures don't appeal to me.
Tessa Campbell
Mar 19, 2008 Tessa Campbell rated it it was amazing
Originally composed in French in the mid 1500's. This book consists of 70 short stories. It is amazing to see the many of the issues during this era are quite contemporary; lawyers and priests are depicted as deceivers. They utilize their professions to hide mask their true identities. The stories deal with devoutness, chastity, adultery, love, and desire.
Haley Carnefix
Feb 02, 2012 Haley Carnefix rated it really liked it
Marguerite de Navarre was a woman before her time. Her commentary on the structure and hierarchy of those relationships considered "romantic" is revealing and biting at times. I loved the way that, through narrative, she unpacks and really expounds on what it meant not only to be a woman in her time, but the brutality and betrayal that really makes up "courtly love".
Aug 03, 2008 Emily added it
I've had to read pieces of this book for several classes, but I've not actually read the whole thing sequentially. Probably not good for my perception of it. But. Pretty much a direct answer to the Decameron in a lot of ways (not just structurally). And really fun to read. It read faster than the Decameron for me.
Jun 13, 2012 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: romans-francais
Read this for a French Literature class and ended up adoring it. If you have an affinity or any sort of soft spot for fairy tales, this would probably be something you'd like. It basically consists of short little folk tales, all with specific life lessons. I find it to be a good "travelling" book.
Apr 09, 2016 Elsa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked some parts... The rest was just too old for my taste. And the XVI century vocabulary was terribly difficult. I just read the parts I had to read for class... still boring and tedious. Good luck with it.
Sara Stiles
Oct 29, 2011 Sara Stiles rated it really liked it
An odd yet fun read. I started this as an assignment and thought "here we go. Another boring school reading" but this is not what followed. It was interesting, funny, smart, and educational. I highly recommend this story.
Jan 28, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it
Sure, it's all about sex: sex & honour, sex & rape, sex and marriage, sex and death, sex & class, sex & men/women, sex & lies, sex & religion...

But I liked it.

Really interesting insight into the divide between love/marriage and male/female concepts of honour.
Mar 24, 2010 Elise rated it really liked it
A really interesting look into courtly love and the vices of this time period, especially considering it's one of the first books of its kind written by a woman. It's got a lot of adultery and womanizing monks but also a lot of social commentary and talk of what virtue is for different genders.
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Marguerite de Navarre, also known as Marguerite d'Angoulême and Margaret of Navarre, was the queen consort of King Henry II of Navarre. As patron of humanists and reformers, and as an author in her own right, she was an outstanding figure of the French Renaissance. Samuel Putnam called her "The First Modern Woman".
More about Marguerite de Navarre...

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