Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yolande Remembered

Margaret was raised by this grandmother

There are some claims [but expressed doubts by many scholars] that Yolande lived her last months and died in this large house, now called 'Maison de la reine de Sicile', located on an island in the Loire river that is connected to the center of the town of Samur by a bridge. From this small residence [now privately owned], the 'Queen of Sicily' could look across and see the fortress château of Samur looming high above the town. That magnificent structure had been one of her favorite residences at the height of her influence, though modern literature associates the château of Samur with where her famous son, 'the Good King' René d'Anjou resided until 1471, when he moved to Provence.
It is curious that few major French, or medieval feminist, scholars have addressed Yolande d'Aragon in a specific study, though she is often listed among the great women 'who made France'.

Jehanne d'Orliac's Yolande d'Anjou, la reine des quatre royamues (Paris 1933) contains considerable detail. While much of it can be corroborated in other works, the author's lack of citations is of serious concern and the work has some definite errors.
One of the best coverages of Yolande is the French historian Philippe Erlanger'sCharles VII et son mystère (Paris, Gallimard 1945, Perrin 1973, 1981), in which this recognized historian describes Yolande's prominent role in sustaining Charles VII during the critical stages of his reign. Yolande is again recognized in Erlanger's "9 femmes qui ont fait la France," Historia (Septembre 1971, pp.40-53). Erlanger's recognition of the significance of Yolande's roll is perhaps due to his having examined other ears, and he is not beholden to documents, studies, and scholars who have focused on 'the Maid'. Such a perspective has drawn some criticism from those infused with the singular attribution toward 'the Maid'. No doubt, there may be a perception by some that elevating the contribution of Yolande threatens the unique status of Jeanne d'Arc.

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