Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2020


Propagandists on both sides of the French civil wars known as the Fronde drew upon religious symbols and traditions to rally their readers to condemn or support the rebellion against Queen Anne d’Autriche, regent for young King Louis XIV, and her chief minister Cardinal Jules Mazarin. The cult of the saints remained strong during the Fronde. After a spectacular procession of the relics of Saint Genevieve, patron saint of Paris, failed to bring peace to the kingdom in June 1652, multiple writers gave voice to this legendary figure. This essay examines four Mazarinades (the political pamphlets of the Fronde) in which Saint Genevieve speaks directly, either to press for peace or raise threats of revolution. It argues that the use, by turns, of maternal and militaristic aspects of this female saint demonstrates the symbolic power of gendered voices in a time of political crisis.