Talk:François Villon

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Why is Villon's homosexuality not mentioned in the article? I know that some people find this sort of things strangely irrelevant when it is otherwise perfectly acceptable to mention the wifes and children of heterosexual authors but in this case, his preferences actually explicitly informed his work since he wrote some very explicit poems. -- (talk) 23:21, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

The generally accepted view in Villon scholarship is that he was not homosexual. As with many historical figures, there is a small school of criticism which is determined to find evidence of homosexuality in Villon's writing -- for example, Lepage (1986) wonders if the occasional mockery of homosexuals in Villon's poetry is evidence of (I paraphrase) Villon "protesting too much." However, as far as I can tell, this is a minority view at best. I'm not sure which poems you're identifying as "explicitly" homosexual, but Villon's poetry is repeatedly explicit about his heterosexual relationships -- for example, his famous "damoiselle au nez tortu", etc. etc. etc. Best, -- Docether (talk) 16:11, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Looks like someone was out to make a point, with a portmanteau footnote citing eight separate references (broken out in the quote below) but Docether appears to be correct about generally accepted view on this, so I've removed the section speculating about his possible homosexuality from the article, because it doesn't appear to rise even to the level of a controversy, but merely a small minority opinion.

Some scholars have also speculated whether Villon may have been homosexual, but there is no definitive evidence to resolve the question.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] It is certain that he corresponded with Charles, duc d'Orléans at least once (in 1457) and it is likely that he resided for some period at that prince's court at Château Blois. He had also something to do with another prince of the blood, Jean of Bourbon, and he may have visited Poitou, Dauphiné, and other places, if we accept the places named in his poems to record his actual travels.

Mathglot (talk) 00:04, 25 July 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ François Villon : Ballades en argot homosexuel. (Édition critique bilingue de Thierry Martin.) Mille et une nuits, Paris, 1998 et 2001.
  2. ^ François Villon : Poèmes homosexuels. (Édition bilingue de T. Martin.) QuestionDeGenre/GKC, Montpellier, 2000 et 2007.
  3. ^ Jean Dufournet : Nouvelles recherches sur Villon. Champion, Paris, 1980.
  4. ^ Pierre Guiraud : Le jargon de Villon ou le gai savoir de la Coquille. Gallimard, Paris, 1968.
  5. ^ Yvan G. Lepage : François Villon et l’homosexualité. Le Moyen Âge, t. XCII n° 1, 1986.
  6. ^ Christine Martineau-Génieys : L’Homosexualité dans le Lais et le Testament de François Villon. In Conformité et déviances au Moyen Âge. Les Cahiers du C.R.I.S.I.M.A., n° 2. Montpellier, Université Paul-Valéry, 1995.
  7. ^ Ida Nelson : La Sottie sans souci, essai d’interprétation homosexuelle. Champion, Paris, 1977.
  8. ^ Gert Pinkernell : Villon und Ythier Marchant. Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, t. 103, 1987.


The link is described as "Biography, Bibliography, Analysis, Plot overview (in French)" but all that I see there is a rather brief, mainly biographical, piece and more than a few commercial links. Is there any reason not to delete this as linkspam? Or am I missing something? -- Jmabel | Talk 01:45, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Woodcut of Francois Villon[edit]

The woodcut on this page has a caption that may be misleading. Though the original context (the 1489 printing of the Grand Testament) may have represented this woodcut as a portrait of Villon, the woodcut itself is actually a stock illustration used by a number of printers of the time to represent many different people (D. B. Wyndham Lewis notes that it was also used for Virgil, among others). In fact, no portrait of Villon survives to the current day. Any thoughts on how to best represent this? docether | Talk 02:11, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, I've recaptioned it, see what you think. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:02, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
The new caption is quite a bit clearer, thanks. Perhaps we should add a small section on contemporary and / or fictional representations of Villon. For example, Rabelais clearly modelled the character of Panurge on Villon, and a number of other writers have used Villon, more or less accurately, as a fictional character. Docether 17:08, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

The Bishop's Prison of Meung-Sur-Loire[edit]

I'd like to get opinions on this: should the description of the Bishop's prison be expanded? I visited the bishop's palace at Meung-Sur-Loire and the conditions of Villon's captivity were rather different from what one thinks of as a prison, even a medieval prison. It was a hole in the ground with a circular ledge about ten feet beneath the surface. Beyond that ledge the hole went about thirty feet deep. Once a day the bishop's servants would lower a single piece of bread to the upper ledge, no matter how many people were captive. The Church didn't kill anyone but the design of this place invited them to kill each other. It was remarkable that Villon survived long enough to be pardoned. Both the hole-in-the-ground "prison" and the torture chambers beneath the bishop's palace still survive. Durova 17:38, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Sounds worth a mention to me. A citation would be good. -- Jmabel | Talk 01:22, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
Hooray for primary sources! Does the prison have a formal name? I'd suggest creating a page about the prison itself and linking to it from Villon's page. I notice that Meung-sur-Loire has a stub page, as well. Docether 14:27, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
FWIW: Such a prison cell is known as an oubliette. (talk) 09:46, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

1463 Banishment and Disappearance[edit]

Generally, the primary sources for Villon's biography are either court documents or his own testimony from his works (the latter only being published well after his assumed death). The last known document to record any aspect of Villon's life is the record of his banishment from the city of Paris. After this point, there is no other record of his travels. Most importantly, there is no record of his death. Thus, he can fairly be said to have disappeared, and I've re-added the link to "List of people who have disappeared". Docether 18:06, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Using your criterion, 99.9% of the people in the Middle Ages have "disappeared." There should be some evidence of a person's disappearance, rather than a lack of information. Clarityfiend 05:27, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this mischaracterizes the criteria for the List of people who have disappeared. By its description, this is a list of people "who have mysteriously disappeared, whose death is not substantiated, whose remains have not been recovered, or whose whereabouts are unknown and who may be presumed deceased." Though undoubtedly this applies to a great number of people throughout history, the general Wikipedia rule of notability applies here -- either a. the inherent notability of the subject prior to his or her disappearance, or b. the notability of the disappearance itself (ie, cases in which an otherwise unremarkable subject is made notable by the public interest in their disappearance). With regards to a., Villion was notable to his contemporaries and continues to be a subject of current research. His remains were never recovered, nor is there any record of his travels after his banishment. He is a notable figure who fits the requirements for the "list of people who have disappeared." B. is also satisfied, by the amount of research that has been conducted into Villon's (otherwise fairly well-documented) life by his various biographers, and their surprise and interest in not finding either written records or oral traditions of his life after banishment from the city of Paris. As far as I can tell, every biography of Villon comments on his "disappearance" post-exile. His is a notable disappearance, and to say that "there should be some evidence of a person's disappearance" misconstrues the point. -- Docether 14:01, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Tennessee Williams[edit]

The following was in the references section. I have cut it. One can only presume that a fictional play that alludes to Villon was in no serious sense a reference for the the writing of the article.

  • Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie featured Villon's best-known quote as the screen legend numerous times.

- 00:26, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Role playing references[edit]

I have removed the reference to a vampire role playing game because it is utterly irrelevant. Villon, an important poet, should not have his space, however democratic the process by which it is edited, denigrated by a reference to an infantile game. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by JohnDavidBurgess (talkcontribs) 14 November 2006.

Well, look at you putting on airs while editing the entry on a 15th century criminal. Become famous, die, and a couple centuries later the people you hated are worshipping you. -Sammy D. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:08, 9 December 2006 (UTC).

Hommage à Villon[edit]

Quick web search shows Greek artist Nonda existed (died recently). No idea why all caps here, no idea whether the statement about him here is true. - Jmabel | Talk 00:26, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Robbery of the Chapel at Collège de Navarre[edit]

The artical says he was accompanied by "student friends" but a recent French documentary says he was in the company of a notorious gang called the Shell Gang (who were organised on similar lines to the Mafia of today). They got the name from the Scallop shell they wore as a badge of membership. It was mentioned that after the pardon for "murder" his student friends could not socialise with him so he socialised with the gang in the taverns where he sang. Should the artical be altered to reflect this or do we need further sources? Wayne 14:57, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The documentary should be an adequate source if you cite it clearly. And it should be indicated as disagreement, not one source superseding the other. - Jmabel | Talk 19:47, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I haven't seen the documentary mentioned, but most biographies of Villon mention that he was associated with the "Coquillards," which might in English be translated as the "Shell Gang", so that's probably what you're thinking of. During Villon's time, they were a more or less loosely organized group of various independent bands of thieves, con artists, and bandits. There was a hierarchy of membership, and even a "king" of the Coquillards. You can read a much more detailed article on the Coquillards at the French Wikipedia. Villon wrote several poems in the Coquillards' distinctive jargon -- most well-known is his "Bonne Doctrine a Ceux de Mauvaise Vie". In any case, you should probably be able to source this from any of the extant biographies of Villon. I'd recommend doing this, as the information may be more accurate and detailed.
In fact, Villon's companions during the burglary at the Collège de Navarre may well have been both students and Coquillards. The "coquille" or scallop shell was originally a pilgrim's emblem, the coquille de Saint-Jacques -- sort of a holy souvenir that pilgrims brought back as a token that they had completed the pilgrimage of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. The Coquillards of Villon's time took their name from earlier "gangs" of forgers who were so-called because they sold faked coquilles-de-Saint-Jacques. Bandits in Villon's time may have adopted the coquille to pose as (and prey on) pilgrims, but by this time the "Coquillard" appelation was much more generic, applying to everything from highwaymen to travelling actors' groups. Students were often viewed as "a bad element" at best, and criminals-in-training at worst, so Villon's companions, like Villon himself, may have been closely associated with the Coquillard gangs in Paris. The biographies of Villon that I've read tend to support this more nuanced view. Best, -- Docether 20:47, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Isn't most of the life of Villon copied from some older source? The fact that some of this is written in 19th century English should be a key giveaway. Moreover, this account has a very black-and-white viewpoint, where in most versions of Villon's life, historically the certainty of his "guilt" is not depicted as being nearly so absolute. Even Galway Kinnell (who destroys the beauty and sensitivity of earlier translations), consistently refers to the lack of certainty of Villon's involvement in many of the accusations, where here they are written as if they are fact. Could the reasons why there are no citations in the article, be because the composers of this article have taken personal liberties at writing history? Stevenmitchell 08:59, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

You're correct -- it's a bit hidden in the article, but this article includes information from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica (a public-domain source that, apparently, was used to seed a lot of "new" articles). You can check out the category named "Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica" to see the whole list. Much of the information is not up to modern scholarship. I'd like to do a full rewrite of the article itself, probably using the much more in-depth and well-sourced article at Wikipedia France as a starting-point. In that case, I'd use my copy of Lewis's biography, which uses a great deal of primary sources (the original legal records from Villon's court cases and sentencings and so forth) and is rather fun to read, to boot. Maybe this weekend. Best, -- Docether 14:31, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Death date[edit]

I'm a little confused by the "ca. 1474" which has been in this article for a long time. The last dated document referencing Villon is his banishment from Paris on 5 Jan 1463. Unless something else has come to light, or something is not mentioned in the article, all we can really say is that he died after that date. I'm changing it for now but please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 17:59, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Pronunciation of name[edit]

Needs IPA and possibly a sound file. I believe it is roughly [fʀɑ̃ˈswɛ viˈljon], but I'm no expert either on IPA or on medieval French. - Jmabel | Talk 17:54, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Translation of French wikipedia page[edit]

The French version of this page has been designated a "Featured Article." I'm going to translate as much of the extra stuff from that page as possible and integrate it with the information contained in this article in hopes of achieving the same level of excellence for this page. I hope to have this done within the week... just a heads up. Portia1780 (talk) 18:52, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

time for writing the Le grand testament?[edit]

in the text it says:

In 1460, at the age of thirty, Villon began to compose the works which he named Le grand testament (1461–1462)

also it says

In 1461, he wrote his most famous work, the Grand Testament.

isnt that contradictory? if he started to write it in 1460 shouldnt it be:

In 1460, at the age of thirty, Villon began to compose the works which he named Le grand testament (1460–1462)


Between 1460 and 1462, he wrote his most famous work, the Grand Testament.

mabe im wrong, but I just try to help.

Olof nord (talk) 21:48, 4 February 2010 (UTC)Olof nordOlof nord (talk) 21:48, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Accuracy of link[edit]

Should the link to “François Villon Ballad about the Plump Margot. French-English parallel text” make clear that the English version is not a translation? The Lawless One (talk) 22:39, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

"On this day" grammar[edit]

The "On this day" snippet says he was "banned from Paris by the Parlement after being commuted from a death sentence". That surely can't be correct grammar? It implies that he was commuted, when it was actually the sentence that was commuted. It should read "...after his death sentence was commuted". I'm not knowledgeable enough to know how to amend On This Day entries though. Perhaps someone else could do it? (assuming anyone agrees with me, of course) HieronymousCrowley (talk) 09:10, 5 January 2011 (UTC)


Literary critics and literary historians[edit]

Seems to me we'd do well to have more discussion here of what literary critics and literary historians have said about his work over the centuries. We state here that he's a major figure in the history of French literature, which is certainly true, but we provide rather little evidence. - Jmabel | Talk 05:53, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

The Vagabond King[edit]

Missing from the section "In Popular Culture," is The Vagabond King, a 1931opera by Rudolf Friml that was later filmed at least twice, according to the IMDB. It was a fictionalized treatment of Francois Villon.Jim Stinson (talk) 00:27, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

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