Louise Labé

Louise Labé

Louise Labé was born in Lyon in 1525 (or perhaps a few years earlier); she died in Lyon in 1566. Both her father and her husband were wealthy ropemakers: she herself was called, therefore, “la belle Cordiere.” She came to be known for her wit and beauty, and her belligerent vitality as well. At an early age she learned Greek, Latin, Spanish and Italian. She was a proficient horsewoman, and did “military exercises” as a girl. She appears to have enlisted in the Dauphin’s army and to have fought, in her teens, in the siege of Perpignan. She accumulated an eminent library, and formed an elaborate salon; and her remaining years were marked by a celebrated and somewhat cantankerous intimacy with certain contemporary poets and poetesses, such as Olivier de Magny.

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