This essay explores the gendered performance of power in the letters of Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566), particularly during the period when, as mistress of Henri II of France (1519-59), she wielded considerable political influence at court. It argues that her power was established and enacted through performances of authoritative behaviours and rhetoric that were inflected by contemporary understandings about gender and explores a number of distinct strategies embedded in Diane’s correspondence. These techniques reflected the corporeal and sexual nature of her access to consideration as a political interlocutor but also aimed to position her status as a figure of social and economic influence beyond this original means to power.
|Title of host publication||Women and Power at the French Court, 1483-1563|
|Place of Publication||Amsterdam|
|Publisher||Amsterdam University Press|
|Chapter||12/ Part IV|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
Broomhall, S. (2018). ‘The King and I’: Rhetorics of power in the letters of Diane de Poitiers. In S. Broomhall (Ed.), Women and Power at the French Court, 1483-1563 (pp. 335-356). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv8pzd9w.15