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The following information about Louis Labé is taken from a website at the University of Minnesota compiled by Mary Skemp and Michelle Miller .

Louise Labé, 1526-1566

Little is known about the details of the life of Louise Labé. Much has been made, however, in the history of French literature about the personality of the woman revealed in her poetry. This conflation of the author and the female narrator of the Oeuvres of Louise Labé has lead to a mythic portrait of "La Belle Cordière," as Labé was known to her contemporaries. Her public literary presence earned her less flattering epithets; Calvin referred once to her as a "plebeia meretrix."

Louise Labé was probably born between 1515 and 1524 near Lyon where her father was a rope manufacturer. She was educated according to the humanist ideals of the period, studying Latin, Italian, music, letters and even the practice of arms. She was an accomplished musician and the writing of sonnets would have been a typical pastime in the cultural capital of France that Lyon had become in the first half of the sixteenth century. Lyon was a vibrant metropolis at this time; very much influenced by Italian culture, and situated on all the major trade routes in Europe, it was a center of banking and trade. A haven for Renaissance thinkers who were looking to escape the authority of the Sorbonne in Paris, Lyon was also an extremely important publishing center.

Around 1543, Labé married Ennemond Perrin, a rope maker like her father. It was during this period that Labé was associated with notable literary figures of the Lyon school, including Maurice Scève, Pernette Du Guillet, Olivier de Magny, and Pontus de Tyard.

The Oeuvres of Louise Labé were published in 1555 by Jean de Tournes. This first edition was followed by three others a year later, which attest to its immediate popularity. All her writings are contained in the one volume which is prefaced by a dedicatory letter to Clémence de Bourges, a young Lyonnaise noblewoman. This letter, an important early feminist treatise which calls women to the act of writing, is followed by a prose debate between Cupid and Folly, three elegies and twenty-four sonnets. The first edition was also accompanied by a series of poems in praise of the author written by many of her fellow poets. In this careful construction of her public figure which accompanies the only written works by Louise Labé known to us, the reader finds the mythical figure the author undoubtedly wished to present.(MS)