MAROT, Clement

(1496-1544)
Clement Marot, court poet for Francois I* of France, was an innovative, witty, and prolific poet, author, and translator who commemorated myriad historical events and provided satiric criticism of various institutions; his controversial religious beliefs, however, eventually forced him to flee France because of charges of heresy. Marot s childhood and education are little known; it is certain that his father was the court poet to Anne of Brittany, the wife of Louis XII, and that in 1514 Marot himself was placed as a page to Nicolas de Neufville, a secretary of finance. In addition, Marot trained as a law clerk. At this juncture, Marot began to write poetry and make translations from Latin and Greek in hopes of gaining patronage; King Francois I received him well and recom­mended him to his sister Marguerite de Navarre.* Marot became one of the first and most famous poets she sponsored; she appointed him valet de chambre, court poet, and her secretary. His works, which commemorated various diplo­matic missions, court events, and military exploits, demonstrated his elegant wit and deft ability to weave courtly flattery with a sense of underlying importance of the events.
In 1526 Marot was imprisoned at Chatelet for a religious infraction. Hints in Marot s writing suggest that he was denounced for eating meat during Lent, but modern historians question the veracity of this story. It is certain that he was vulnerable to attack because of Marguerite s absence; she was in Spain nego­tiating the release of Francois I, who had been captured by the Spanish. Upon Francois's return, he released Marot and restored him to popularity. Unfortu­nately, Marot fell ill during the winter of 1531-32 and afterward was imprisoned again for a brief period, apparently for a similar offense. His court connections again obtained his release and showered further rewards upon him; his fame continued to grow.
However, in 1534 the king turned against the idea of religious reform. Marot, who was known for his attacks on the conservative religious views of the Sor­bonne as well as for his reformist convictions, was in danger. When his home was raided, searchers found a translated copy of the Bible and other forbidden tracts. These were hanging offenses, but Marot had already fled to Marguerite's court at Nerac, a shelter for those with Protestant beliefs. However, Marguerite was unable to shield him for long, as she herself came under suspicion. She arranged for him to go to Italy, to the court of her cousin, Renee of Ferrara.*
Although Marot found happiness at Ferrara, a cultural center of Italy, Renee's husband, a staunch Catholic, eventually began to cause trouble for him and the other refugees. This time, Marot went to Venice, known for its tolerance. How­ever, he returned to France in 1536 after Francois declared an amnesty for all religious offenders. After performing a humiliating ceremony of abjuration, Ma-rot returned to court and for a brief time enjoyed his former popularity. The king even requested that Marot make translations of the Psalms into French as a gift for Charles V.* However, when once again Francois reversed his position, these translations, as well as his other writings, became grounds for another accusation of heresy, and Marot was forced to flee again.
This time, Marot went to Geneva, where John Calvin* welcomed him and urged him to continue his translations. However, Marot was uncomfortable with the austere atmosphere of Geneva and left unhappily, longing for France. He wandered throughout Europe, seeking patronage, and finally died in exile in Turin in September 1544.
Scholars disagree as to the depth of Marot s religious commitment. Some maintain that his religion was inextricably interwined with his politics, and that while he certainly possessed reform convictions, his reputation as a Protestant may have been inflated by circumstance. Others contend that his was, in fact, a true religious zeal, and that his writings reflect that fact.
Marot left a legacy of innovative poetical forms and styles, such as the ec­logue and the coq-a-l'ane, and his use of the epigram continued to inspire later generations of poets. In addition, he wrote the first epithalamion in French and what was most likely its first sonnet. He published several collections of poetry and other writings that contain a humorous but insightful view into court life, satiric commentary, and, especially in his later works, his moving explorations of religion and death. Ultimately, he left behind a reputation as France s fore­most poet of the Renaissance.
Bibliography
G. Joseph, Clement Marot, 1985.
M. A. Screech, Clement Marot: A Renaissance Poet Discovers the Gospel, 1994.
Erin Sadlack

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marot, Clément — (1496 1544)    poet    Born in Cahors, the son of the rhetorician Jean Marot, Clément Marot served as a page to King Francis I and then to the king s sister marguerite of valois, the future queen of Navarre. He earned their patronage and wrote… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Marot, Clément — born 1496?, Cahors, France died September 1544, Turin, Savoy French poet. While imprisoned in 1526 for defying Lenten abstinence regulations, he wrote some of his best known works, including The Inferno, an allegorical satire on justice. He held… …   Universalium

  • Marot, Clément — (1496 1544)    French poet, son of a poet who wrote in the medieval rhétoriqueur style. Clément was early attracted to humanism and the evangelical religious style of his patron, Margaret of Navarre. About 1527 he abandoned traditional medieval… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Marot, Clément — (¿1496?, Cahors, Francia–sep. 1544, Turín, Saboya). Poeta francés. Mientras se encontraba en prisión en 1526 por desacatar la ley de abstinencia durante la cuaresma, escribió algunas de sus obras más conocidas, entre ellas L Enfer [El infierno],… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • MAROT, CLEMENT —    French poet, born at Cahors; was valet de chambre of Margaret of Valois; was a man of ready wit and a satirical writer, the exercise of which often brought him into trouble; his poems, which consist of elegies, epistles, rondeaux, madrigals,… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Clement Marot — Clément Marot Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marot. Clément Marot Activité(s) Poèt …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clément Marot — (Cahors, 1496 Turín, 1544 fue un poeta francés del Siglo XVI, protegido por el rey de Francia Francisco I. Contenido …   Wikipedia Español

  • Clément Marot — (23 November 1496 – 12 September 1544) was a French poet of the Renaissance period. Clément Marot …   Wikipedia

  • Clement Marot — Marot Clément Marot (* 23. November (?) 1496 in Cahors; † 12. September (?) 1544 in Turin) war ein französischer Dichter. Er gilt als der bedeutendste französische Lyriker der ersten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clément Marot — Marot Clément Marot (* 23. November (?) 1496 in Cahors; † 12. September (?) 1544 in Turin) war ein französischer Dichter. Er gilt als der bedeutendste französische Lyriker der ersten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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