Margaret M. McGowan

Margaret Mary McGowan CBE (born 1931) is a noted dance historian and historian of early modern France. Her work is mainly focused on the late Renaissance and the fin-de-siècle period at the end of the nineteenth century. She did her dissertation at the Warburg Institute of the University of London under the supervision of Frances Yates, published subsequently as L'art du Ballet de Cour en France, 1581–1643. In addition to nearly a dozen books she has published over eighty articles and book chapters.[1]

McGowan is one of the first scholars to focus on the history of dance in the early modern period and served as Assistant Editor for the journal Dance Research for several decades, helping to shape the field of early dance.

She was appointed CBE in the 1998 New Year Honours.


  • L'art du Ballet de Cour en France, 1581–1643. Paris, 1963.
  • Les fêtes de cour en Savoie: L'Oeuvre de Philippe d'Aglié. Société de l'Histoire de Théâtre, 1970.
  • Montaigne's Deceits. London, 1974.
  • L'entrée de Henri II à Rouen, 1550. Amsterdam, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1974.
  • Balet Comique de la Reyne, 1581. Medieval and Renaissance Texts, Binghamton, 1982.
  • Form and Meaning: Aesthetic Coherence in Seventeenth-century French Drama, ed. with Ian D. McFarlane. Avebury, 1982.
  • Ideal Forms in the Age of Ronsard. California University Press, 1985.
  • Moy qui me voy: the Writer and the Self from Montaigne to Leiris, ed. with G. Craig. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • The Court Ballet of Louis XIII. London, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1989.
  • The Vision of Rome in the French Renaissance. Yale University Press, 2000.
  • Dance in the Renaissance: European Fashion: French Obsession. Yale University Press, 2008.


  1. Ralph, Richard. “Editorial Introduction. Margaret M. McGowan: Pioneer of Academic Dance Research.” Dance Research 25, no. 2 (2007): 87-90.

Further reading

  • The Art that all Arts do Approve: Manifestations of the Dance Impulse in High Renaissance Culture: Studies in Honour of Margaret M. McGowan – Dance Research, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Winter 2007)
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