The Three Faces of Louise Labe

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Paul Archambault


Social criticism, Le Debat de Folie et d'Amour, Personal experience, Poetic works

Subject Categories

French and Francophone Language and Literature


The present study will attempt to demonstrate the thesis that there are three different personalities reflecting three different purposes in the art of Louise Labe. There is first Louise Labe, the objective critic of society. She is thus revealed in the dedicatory epsitle "A. M. C. D. B. L." and to a greater extent in her prose work "Le Debat de Folie et d'Amour." A second Louise, in contrast to the first, is the sensual, emotional woman who recreates her personal experience in her art as seen particularly in the sonnets. These poetic works translate her worldly desires and her suffering caused by the impossibility of ever attaining the ideal happiness for which she yearns. Hence, Louise Labe expresses, in her art, two realities -- the psychological reality of her emotional state and the physical reality of her time and society. There is yet another Louise Labe revealed in her works, especially in the elegies, -- the self-conscious, self-assertive author who is highly aware of being an artist who deserves a place in literary history.


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