Montaigne, Rabelais, and Marot as Readers of Erasmus

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Explores the relationship between critical reading and creative imitation of the works of Erasmus by Montaigne, Rabelais, and Marot. This study makes judicious use of Erasmus' exegetical writings and his Colloquies in order to demonstrate how specific religious, ethical, and moral problems were treated in remarkably similar ways by Erasmus, Montaigne, Rabelais, and Marot.


“. . . a well researched and valuable contribution to the fecund subject of Erasmus’s influence on French Renaissance writers. . . . His thoughtfully prepared study examines how Montaigne, Rabelais, and Marot imitated and interpreted specific texts and key works by Erasmus of Rotterdam. It leads the reader through an erudite itinerary, meandering among the major landmarks of critical works of his predecessors. Campion’s critical approach is sound in that he chooses to analyze the works in light of sixteenth-century history and theories, focusing on their religious and moral dimensions. His introductory and concluding chapters carefully validate his choices of authors and texts, as well as his exclusions. . . . The originality of his perspective resides in the fact that it does not merely examine the theoretical influence of Erasmus on the three writers, but also specific thematic and stylistic similarities between their works. . . . Campion’s scholarly study is both attractive for the knowledgeable reader and easy to read for the uninitiated, with careful translation of all quotations from Latin or other languages. . . excellent, well-written, well-informed and well-organized study, which will be a precious tool for any reader curious about Erasmus’s treatment of theological and moral problems and its influence on some of his best known contemporaries.” - The French Review Dec. ‘98

"The author demonstrates a thorough familiarity with the existing state of scholarship on Erasmus and on French authors, referring frequently to the work of researchers such as Defaux, Margaret Mann Philips, Pierre Margolin, and Michael Screech. Campion attempts, with a large degree of success, to forge a synthesis between the very different strategies of his predecessors, especially in his emphasis on the stake that each of the Frenchmen had in Erasmus's methods of biblical exegesis." - James Gaines "Campion reveals himself as an insightful and critical disciple of Erasmus. . . . Campion's persuasive book takes important steps in the significant progress in Erasmian studies and their effects on some 16th century French authors." - William Marceau

". . . this approach has rich implications for reader reception. . . . Campion's analyses bring out striking similarities among these authors which complement existing interpretations or reevaluate them in the light of Christian-humanist thought. His juxtapositions succeed in showing the value of an intertextual and comparative approach to Erasmus studies. Readers will appreciate Campion's emphasis on reader reception in this study, which makes a contribution to research on Erasmus, his intellectual milieu and influence on sixteenth-century moral and religious thought." - Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook

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