This book shows that certain women, especially those featured in the following chapters, played a fundamental part in delineating the Renaissance in France, and, despite the efforts of subsequent writers to reduce them to romantic figures or even write them out of history altogether, exercised political power and influence. They contributed to the new culture in such significant ways that they, as much as their male counterparts, defined the French Renaissance. In fact, the French Renaissance was shaped, in large part, by the actions and accomplishments of these women. As such, the court's centrality and women's status in it made the French Renaissance more distinctively feminine than its Italian counterpart. Compared with the Italian Renaissance, French elite women, especially queens and mistresses, were in a better position to advance this new cultural movement.
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