Clément Marot


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Marot, Clément

 

Born 1496, in Cahors; died Sept. 10, 1544, in Turin. French poet. Son of the poet-rhetorician J. Marot.

Along with F. Rabelais, Marot was the most important figure of the early Renaissance in France. He gained success as a court poet, at first (from 1518) in the service of Marguerite d’Angouleme (Margaret of Navarre), and later of Francis I (from 1526). Marot’s court verses are unusually light and elegant for their time. His sympathy with the Reformation led to his persecution by the Catholic Church. At the same time, the poet’s life-affirming humanism went beyond the limits of Protestant ideology.

Marot’s Epistles, highly diverse in their genre nuances, occupy a central place in his legacy. He was an outstanding satirist who strongly condemned the reactionary camp, for example, in his narrative poem Hell (1526) and in his satirical epistles. He drew heavily upon popular literary tradition, from the song (in his love lyrics) to the fabliau, farce, and sotie. Marot combined the poetic traditions of the past (including F. Villon) with the latest achievements of humanistic culture. During his sojourn in Italy from 1534 to 1536, Marot became interested in Italian Petrarchism and classical literature. In the mid-1530’s, patriotic and civic motifs became more pronounced in his creative work, and a search for larger forms, to a certain extent anticipating the future achievements of the Pleiade, became evident.

Marot’s translations of the Psalms, on which he began work in the 1530’s, played an important role in the ensuing flowering of the French ode. M. Regnier, V. Voiture, J. de La Fontaine, and Voltaire were influenced by Marot, whose writings contain many signs of the emerging French national character.

WORKS

Oeuvres, vols. 1-5. Edited by C. A. Mayer. London, 1958-70.
In Russian translation:
Bliumenfel’d, V. M. Poety frantsuzskogo Vozrozhdeniia. Leningrad, 1938.
Khrestomatiia po zarubezhnoi literature: Epokha Vozrozhdeniia, vol. 1. Compiled by B. I. Purishev. Moscow, 1959.

REFERENCES

Shishmarev, V. F. Kleman Maro. Petrograd, 1915.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 225-32.
Plattard, J. Cl. Marot. Paris, 1938.
Vianey, J. Les Epitres de Marot. Paris, 1962.
Smith, P. M. C. Marot: Poet of the French Renaissance. London, 1970.
Mayer, C. A. Bibliographic des oeuvres de Cl. Marot, vols. 1-2. Geneva, 1954.

IU. B. VIPPER