This article examines the poet Antoinette Deshoulières’s (1638–94) interventions in a number of querelles. It focuses on a series of poems that appeared in 1678–79, early in her career, and written as if from her pet cat. Often dismissed for their frivolity, these poems instead reveal Deshoulières’s engagement with the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns and the debates about the animal machine. While such interventions constituted an important strategy for making a name for herself, they are characterized by elusiveness. Although that elusiveness has been read as a gendered strategy of modesty, this article shows instead that her equivocal and even parodic, burlesque way of intervening in the two quarrels is consistent with her skepticism and presents readers with a hermeneutical challenge that disrupts the rhetorical logic of a quarrel. Deshoulières’s interventions invite us to reflect on the roles of gender, genre, and interpretation in early modern quarrels and their study.

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