La Belle Cordière – Louise Labé

Louise was an impressive woman. Born in 1520 (or thereabouts) in Rouen, she lived an extraordinary literary life, hanging out in salons, being clever and writing clever things. She deserves to be much better known than she is, not least because she wrote probably the first feminist manifesto in Europe. And she addressed a subject that is still, 500 years later, exercising people around the world – the education of women.

I discovered Louise by chance a few months ago & am slowly translating into English the twenty-four sonnets that she wrote. Other translations exist out there in cyber-space but these are my own, small, tribute to the brilliant, shining Louise. Her sonnets address love and its loss in ways that will resonate with anyone who has ever been a teenager and suffered the exquisite joy/pain that is unrequited love. The sentiments in her poems could well be summarised by ‘it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all’. But she says this in so many different, sensual, wonderful ways, that they are well worth enjoying over and over again.

This entry was posted in feminism, feminist, French poetry, Louise Labe, Poetry, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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