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Louise Labé
(ca. 1524 - February 15, 1566) France

Louise Labé



Born in Lyon from a family of Italian origin as Louise Charlin (or Charly), she kept the surname Labé. Educated in the Renaissance manner, she was also a skilled rider, reputed to have fought, disguised as a knight, at the siege of Perpignan.

She was an active member of the so-called Lyons school of poets headed by Maurice Scève. Labé's elegies and sonnets, in Oeuvres (1555), are love poems notable for their passion and honesty, including Débat de Folie et d'Amour, amongst the finest in the French language.

In 1550 she married a rich ropemaker from Lyon (Ennemond Perrin, d.1565), hence she was nicknamed "La Belle Cordière", and brought together a brilliant intellectual social group to meet in their town house.

La Belle Codière was a colorful and controversial figure during her own lifetime. In 1557 a popular song on the scandalous behavior of La Cordière was published in Lyon, and 1560 Jean Calvin referred to her cross-dressing and called her a plebeia meretrix or common whore.


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