Mary B. McKinley
Douglas Huntly Gordon Professor 
Department of French
304 Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904
434/ 924-4632

Ph.D. Rutgers University


Research:  Early modern French and continental literature; rhetoric and poetics; Montaigne's Essais;  women writers,  particularly Marguerite de Navarre.   I am interested in the narrative innovations of the Heptaméron and the circumstances of its production, as well as its relationship to Marguerite's  mystical poetry.   I am completing an English translation of the polemical works of Marie Dentière.

Representative  publications:

Recent articles: Teaching:   I incorporate an introduction to rare books and sixteenth-century book production in all of my graduate courses, most recently including Montaigne,  Rabelais, Pre-Pléiade Poetry, Marguerite de Navarre et son Cercle, Une Ville à la Renaissance: Lyon 1530-1550.   The Gordon Collection in Alderman Library's Special Collections offers our students an outstanding resource.   In summer 2002 our department launched the first UVA in France summer program in Lyon; there I was able to teach my course on Renaissance Lyon on site.   I frequently involve advanced graduate students as apprentice teaches in undergraduate courses such as Women Writers of the Renaissance; Sixteenth-Century Prose Writers: Erasmus, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne; and Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature.

UVA summer program in Lyon

Courses Fall 2002:

FREN 402: The French "Renaissance"

Sixteenth-century France witnessed the Protestant Reformation, the Copernican Revolution, and the discoveries of worlds both Ancient and New. The printed book was the innovation that announced change to a newly literate society. In Erasmus's Praise of Folly and Adages, Rabelais's Gargantua, Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron, and Montaigne's Essais, we will see how writers both recorded and shaped their turbulent times. We will appreciate their use of paradox, ambiguity, and irony as they create new genres and publish in perilous conditions. These books include stories about giants and cannibals, love and passion, the search for truth and the discovery of the self. Three short papers, a mid-semester and a final exam.

11:00 - 12:15 TR

Courses Fall 2001:

FREN 437: Une Ville à la Renaissance - Lyon

Crossroads of commercial and cultural traffic between Italy and Paris, Lyon enjoyed pride of place in sixteenth-century France.  This course will examine how Lyon's identity emerged and how it was shaped by people who lived or visited there between 1530 and 1550: merchants, printers, doctors, ambassadors, mapmakers, kings, poets and artists.  We will study printing and book production, market fairs, "rebeines" or workers' uprisings, famine and poverty relief, religious reform and suppression of heretics, the birth of urban cartography, musical performances and royal entries.  Visits to Alderman Library's Gordon Collection of sixteenth-century books and the use of web-based and other technological resources will allow us to view a revolution in media culture that occurred 450 years ago in the light of another one taking place today.  Mid-term and final exam, two short papers and a final project.

TR 12:30 - 1:45

FREN 820: Seminar - Montaigne

Montaigne's Essais records the birth of an Author at a time when history was recording the failure of humanism.  Writers struggled to defend and illustrate the French language -- and the ideal cultural identity that language supposedly proclaimed -- as civil war and aristocratic decadence devastated France.  In that context we will observe the Essais pondering the search for knowledge while constructing a literary self and an unprecedented form of prose writing .  We will consider the book's generic affinities with its near contemporaries: Erasmus's Adages, Estienne's Apologie pour Herodote, and Ariosto's Orlando furioso, for example.  Each student will define a research project in the first half of the semester which will be pursued and presented to the group in the second half and completed in a 20 - 25 page paper.

3:30-6:00 T

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