Madeleine Des Roches

Madeleine Des Roches (née Madeleine Neveu) (c. 1520 – November 1587) was a French woman writer of the Renaissance. She was the mother of Catherine Fradonnet, called Catherine Des Roches (December 1542 - November 1587), to whom she taught poetry, literature and ancient languages.

Madeleine Neveu married André Fradonnet, seigneur Des Roches, the procurer of Poitiers around 1539. Later, in a second marriage (c. 1550), Madeleine Des Roches wed the lawyer François Eboissard, seigneur de la Villée. Both she and her daughter died of an epidemic on the same day.

Contemporaries of Pierre Ronsard, and friends of the humanist Estienne Pasquier, Madeleine Des Roches and her daughter were the center of a literary circle based in Poitiers between 1570 and 1587, and which included the poets Scévole de Sainte-Marthe, Barnabé Brisson, René Chopin, Antoine Loisel, Claude Binet, Nicolas Rapin and Odet de Turnèbe. The circle is most well known for a collection of gallant verse (in French, Italian, Latin and Greek) entitled La Puce de Madame Des Roches ("The Flea of Madame Des Roches", published 1583) in which the poets, inspired by an original poem by Pasquier, wrote on the theme of a flea upon Catherine's throat.

The combined output of mother and daughter—which was published collectively—comprise epistles, odes, sonnets, stanzas, epitaphs, and a few dialogues in prose and verse. In her writings, Madeleine Des Roches spoke of how her domestic activities hindered her from investing as much time as she would have wished into her literary activities. Her poems reveal a large erudition and associate knowledge with vertu.

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