This  dissertation is the first study devoted to François de Billon and his book “Le Fort inexpugnable de l’honneur du sexe femenin” (1555), though his name crops up in works on feminism as a strong defender of women and the historian of the “Querelle des Femmes”. Billon serves as the basis for Abel Lefranc’s judgment that Rabelais was the misogynist par excellence, and that the “Tiers Livre” is Rabelais’s participation in the “Querelle des Femmes” (1904). This view has been disputed in recent years, and a closer study of Billon should elucidate this question.
A careful analysis of this work, aided by research of biographical and historical nature, shows that the prime interest of Billon was not a defense of women but a defense of secretaries and particularly those working in the interest of the Kingdom of France. Convinced that women and secretaries both suffer from unjustified contempt, and that they should be judged according to their individual merit, Billon joins the party of the defenders of women in the hope they in turn will help his own kind. By ignoring the last third part of the book, devoted to the greatness of France, and the divine mission of the King of France and his helpers (his secretaries), critics have overlooked Billon’s real interest: his belief in the prophecies of Guillaume Postel and his fervent patriotism. His adherence to the ideas of Postel and his admiration for him explain his antagonism to Rabelais, giving it a very personal slant and disqualifying him as an objective judge of Rabelais’s ideas. This study shows that even though Billon understands the essence of women’s griefs, he is no historian of the “Querelle” and is a participant only in so far that he believes all human beings should be judged on their merit instead of their birth, thus expressing some aspirations of the educated bourgeoisie and the rising class of fonctionnaires. This conviction results in interesting commentaries on events and persons of his times that lead the modern reader to a better understanding of 16th-century society.
The Éditions lyonnaises de novels du XVIe siècle (1501-1600) database aims to highlight the contribution of Lyonnais presses to the development of the fiction genre in the XVIth century. Each notice lists and describes the editions printed in Lyon in the 16th century, while listing all the editions that have appeared elsewhere in France or in Europe.
This resource offers approaches to teaching Marguerite de Roberval, a young French woman who survived being marooned on a perilous island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence during the sixteenth century. She was the inspiration for three published works in Renaissance France and numerous other accounts since then.
CESAR is a resource for French theater of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It offers two major interlinked facilities — a database and an imagebank — but also supplementary materials (complete online versions of key compendia, a corpus of contemporary reviews, police reports and treatises), all of which are accessible from either the database or the imagebank.
The Bibliographie de la littérature française (BLF) is coedited by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Société d’histoire littéraire de la France, and Classiques Garnier Numérique. The bibliographic tool documents all the studies on French-speaking literature from the sixteenth century to the present day which have appeared between 1998 and the present day both in France and abroad. Conceived as a veritable crossroads of information, it constitutes a unique resource for researchers, professors, students, and, more broadly, all those seeking to inform themselves on French-speaking literature or on a particular writer, theme or period. The online BLF is updated daily, as and when publications are recorded by specialists.