ABSTRACT

Writing is generally regarded as a most solitary occupation, perhaps especially for early modern women. As Virginia Woolf famously observed, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” (2). The sixteenthcentury Toulousain poet, Gabrielle de Coignard (c. 1550-86), apparently did have that room of her own, though she used it to compose devotional poetry rather than fiction. Little is known about this Gabrielle de Coignard. In 1570 she married Pierre de Mansencal and was widowed only three years later. With two small daughters to raise, Coignard never remarried. Her Œuvres chrétiennes, composed of 129

sonnets spirituels and 21 poems of vers chrétiens, were published posthumously in 1594 by her daughters, Jeanne and Catherine de Mansencal.2