Perceived directly or through translations, the voices that come from antiquity and from Italy determine vast interweaving of resonances. Various currents emerge: pagan naturalism (Rabelais), Platonism (Margaret of Navarre; A. Héroet; the whole École lyonnaise), evangelism (group of Meaux), free thought (Despériers), democratic republicanism (La Boétie: it seems that the Contre un sia of 1548), formal aestheticism (neo-Latin poetry; Pléiade). There is a first moment in the Renaissance in which the spirits open with joyful confidence to every reviving aura, to every promise of a freer existence. It is the moment in which one can still dream, around Margaret of Navarre, a peaceful return to the genuineness of the Gospel; in which Rabelais launches the first book of the Pantagruel and the Gargantua and he shouts cheerfully, in his own way, against inert and ignorant asceticism, against absurd scholasticism, against iniquity and violence, his robust love for nature, for science, for socially profitable action. In the intoxication of the first emancipations there are no contrasts between the various trends of the Renaissance. In Margherita Platonic mysticism, love for physical and moral freedom, the joy of loving are reconciled with the tepid Catholic reformism of a Briçonnet and a Lefevre; in Rabelais there is an ideal of order, solidarity, elevation which presupposes the best Christian virtues alongside the most unbridled naturalism; Marot is both the poet who animates courtesan wits with a new grace and the translator of the Psalms (1533-42). All dominated, whatever their creed, from the religious and moral problem, rooted in contemporary reality, the writers of that first moment did not ask themselves the problem of art in the abstract. They spontaneously find the full expression of their ideal. Their style reconciles, like their spirit, the Middle Ages with the new times, the old indigenous forms with the lessons of antiquity and with the influences of Italy, the erudite mentality with the respect and love of everyday reality. The greatest of all, Rabelais, manages to give us at the same time, in his incomparable masterpiece, all of himself and all the faces of France. Universal in its foundations and its ends, not yet dissociated from They spontaneously find the full expression of their ideal. Their style reconciles, like their spirit, the Middle Ages with the new times, the old indigenous forms with the lessons of antiquity and with the influences of Italy, the erudite mentality with the respect and love of everyday reality. The greatest of all, Rabelais, manages to give us at the same time, in his incomparable masterpiece, all of himself and all the faces of France. Universal in its foundations and its ends, not yet dissociated fromItalian virtue and ancient hedonism, the vision that inspires them remains far from pedantry and fanaticism. The atmosphere remains favorable to daring; Francis I has not yet betrayed the cause of the Renaissance; his protection, that of his sister Margherita remain effective. The environment changed after 1534. The king took sides with the conservative forces. The evangelism of the precursors – one of the most genuine aspects of the Renaissance as a criticism of Christian sources and an independent study of the divine word – is changing decisively, especially as a result of the opposition encountered and the Germanic example, into a Protestant reform. Renaissance and Reformation become two opposite and enemy worlds:(1542) and for the final choice, in those of his tables of the new law, of the secular language, French. It should be added that economic, political and military France still retains its conscience as a nation, its intolerance of the primates of others in Europe, but is increasingly losing its first faith in its hegemonic destiny.
According to NEOVIDEOGAMES, the third book of Rabelais, cascade of skeptical and prudent laughter, the fourth book, mocking and bitter, far from the stoic resignation defined in the new prologue, they make one feel that the early Renaissance is over. The transformation is accentuated when the younger generations come to the scene, grown up in the pride of the Renaissance without having experienced its great philosophical and human problems. That motion continues, but is now exclusively against forms, no longer against the spirits of the Middle Ages. The initial unity of art and thought is broken. Infatuated like their elders of antiquity and of Italy, but more prepared for the same broad penetration of the Renaissance, to feel the beauty of ancient and Italian works, Ronsard’s contemporaries compare the indigenous production of the first part with the great idolized literatures. of the century and report the the impression that nothing had yet been accomplished. The aspiration for a national and literary language was in the air, for a literature capable of competing with those loved by the educated classes and studied in the schools. Above all, the poet was expected: the wise, melodious, solemn artist, who was like the literary voice of France. Faced with such expectation, the figures of a Marot and a Mellin de Saint-Gelais naturally became mean; Rabelais was mostly seen in the Aristophanesque mask; the vast treasure of translations accumulated with such enthusiasm was alien to the nation. Ronsard and his friends set about fabricating the dreamed literature with youthful boldness. They are proud and convinced of their formulas: imitation instead of translation; adoption of genres, meters, technical habits; organic creation of a group of works that acts as a comparison to the most reputed part of Italo-classical literature.