Whether as a patron, recipient or reader, the literate princess of the 15th and 16th centuries has been studied until now almost exclusively in her receiving role of literary culture. My project aims to redefine this role in order to reveal the cultural and literary networks animated by these governesses, taking as an example the princesses of Savoie and Burgundy, two duchies which were rich in evidence of reading and writing at the turn of the century. To consider these princesses as operators of literary culture implies placing them on the side of the practical implementation of writing.
Around 1500, the strengthening of the cultural power of the European courts has rarely been linked to the change in status of two of their actors: court writers on the one hand, and governesses on the other, whose effective power as autonomous queens or regents reached a new level. Their status gave these women the power to create places of cultural exchange where innovative literary forms were experimented with. The main contribution of my project consists in shedding light on this female "literary governance" by studying two of its main manifestations: the anthological manuscripts of poetry of which they were instigators, recipients and sometimes co-authors, and the correspondence that they conducted with writers. This double corpus, both literary and documentary, gives the project an interdisciplinary approach, between history and literary studies.
My research aims to radically re-evaluate the role of the Burgundian and Savoyard princesses at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, in order to demonstrate that, in addition to being receivers of an abundant literary culture, they were undeniably, through their integration within active networks, governors of writing.