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Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies

Victoria University in the University of Toronto

Catherine de Medicis and Others, Portraits of the Queen Mother: Polemics, Panegyrics, Letters

283 pp / Softcover / October 2014 / 978-0-7727-2172-3 / $31.95

Translation and study by Leah L. Chang and Katherine Kong

Catherine de Médicis was portrayed in her day as foreign usurper, loving queen and queen mother, patron of the arts, and Machiavellian murderer of Protestants. Leah L. Chang and Katherine Kong assemble a diverse array of scathing polemic and lofty praise, diplomatic reports, and Catherine’s own letters, which together show how one extraordinary woman’s rule intersected with early modern conceptions of gender, maternity, and power.

To view an excerpt from the introduction, please click here [PDF]

“Bringing together differing, even conflicting, writings about Catherine de Médicis in her century is a very timely project. It will allow students and faculty alike to appreciate how posterity’s view of a historical person emerges and evolves, and how it is constructed by sympathetic or hostile reporters. The editors not only present Catherine and the Wars of Religion in their historical context, but also examine the fascinating problem of her afterlife in popular literature as well as serious scholarship.”
— Mary B. McKinley, Douglas Huntly Gordon Professor of French, University of Virginia


The Translators:

Leah L. Chang is Associate Professor of French at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She is the author of Into Print: The Production of Female Authorship in Early Modern France (2009).

Katherine Kong is an independent scholar and former Associate Professor of French at the University of Tennessee. She is the author of Lettering the Self in Medieval and Early Modern France (2010).


Parergon – Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 32.2 (2015). pp. 278-280. Reviewed by Susan Broomhall.

Renaissance Quarterly, 68:4 (2016). pp. 1399-1400. Reviewed by Tracy Adams.


To Order:

The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies no longer sells or distributes books in “The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series.” Starting July 2015, volumes can be purchased by individuals and institutions from the Chicago Distribution Center. Contact CDC by email (, by fax (800-621-8476 or 773-702-7212), or by phone (800-621-2736 or 773-702-7000).

283 pp / Softcover / October 2014 / 978-0-7727-2172-3 / $31.95

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  1. New book on Catherine de Médicis | Women's Early Modern Letters Online