TOPIC : BLAZON & CONTREBLASON

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WHAT IS A BLAZON ?

A blazon is a poem glorifying or praising the beauty of various parts of the female anatomy.This kind of poetry was incepted by Clement Marot who launched the fashion with his "Blason du Tetin", also called the "Beau Tetin" (the "Beautiful Breast"). (1)

 

Epigramme du Beau Tétin

Tetin refaict, plus blanc qu'un œuf

Tetin de satin blanc tout neuf

Tetin qui fait honte à la rose

Tetin plus beau que nulle chose

Tetin dur, non pas Tetin, voyre,

Mais petite boule d'yvoire,

Au milieu duquel est assise une fraise, ou une cerise…

Quand on te veoit, il vient à maintz

Une envie dedans les mains

De te taster, de te tenir:

Mais il se fault bien contenir

D'en approcher, bon gré ma vie,

Car il viendroit une autre envie…

 Clement  Marot (1536)

 

 

Marot also organized a poetic contest for blasons of the female body, which triggered a fad for this new literary genre at the time. (2)

WHAT IS A CONTREBLASON?

Contreblasons are poems of blame mocking parts of the female body. Building on his success, Marot launched the contreblason fad with his Epigramme du Laid Tétin , also called the "Laid Tetin" ("The Ugly Breast"), the exact counterpart to the Epigramme du Beau Tétin quoted above.

 
 

Laid Tetin

Tétin qui n'a rien que la peau,

Tétin flac, tetin de drappeau

Grand'tetine, longue tetasse,

Tetin, dois je dire bezasse:

Tetin au grand villain bout noir

Comme celuy d'un entonnoir,

Tetin qui brimballe à tout coups

Sans estre esbranlé, ne secous,

Bien se peult vanter qui te taste,

D'avoir mys la main à la paste

Tetin grillé, tetin pendant

Villaine bourbe en lieu de laict,

Le diable te feit bien si laid…

Clement Marot

 

 

Shakespeare also turned the blazon upside down in his famous sonnet 130:

 

 

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun,

Coral is far more red than her lips' red,

If snow be white, why then her breast are dun;

If hairs be wires, blackwires grow on her head.

I have seen roses, damask'd red and white,

But no such rose see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, - yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go, -

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare!

     - Shakespeare, sonnet 130

 

 

HOW  TO WRITE A BLAZON


a) 13 lines

b) every line is an octosyllabe

c) rhyming scheme : the rhyme changes every two lines

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(1) Because of his suspected role in the 1534 Affaire des Placards, Clement Marot fled to the protestant sympathizing court of Ferrara, where he launched this new literary fashion.

(2)Maurice Sceve won the competition with his "Le Sourcil," the eyebrow. A first edition of the works of the competition was published in 1536 (subsequently augmented and reedited several times). 

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