Folie and Salmacis: Labé's Rewriting of Ovid

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This article presents Louise Labé’s Débat de Folie et d’Amour as a re-writing of Ovid’s myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, and argues that the Débat is an exemplary indication of a significant shift in the reception of Ovid’s myth in Renaissance France. In contrast to the two prevalent interpretations of Ovid’s myth as an allegory for either a moral warning against sexual activity or else a redemptive Neo-Platonic sublimation of sexuality, this growing tendency to highlight the role of Salmacis and of her desire permits the re-sexualisation, contemporaneous with that of the Androgyne, of the hermaphrodite in 1550s France.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-801
JournalModern Language Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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