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354Philosophy and Literature about die complicity of art widi die historical forces which assign to fiction its marginality. Odier insistent questions remain, too, concerning the relations between narrative fictions and the circulation of power in die historical situation and about the ways in which fictions might effect social change. Like many seductive narratives, Story and Situation remains open to future exchanges. Louisiana State UniversityNathaniel Wing 77m Movement of Thought: An Essay on Intellect in Seventeenth-Century France, by Herbert De Ley; xi & 165 pp. Urbana: University of IUinois Press, 1985, $19.95. In this enlightening, carefuUy developed analysis of evolving inteUectual processes in France between 1557 and 1719, Herbert De Ley properly subordinates theory to exegesis. The probing, independent inteUigence he applies in exploring a broad array of paired texts is combined with a sensible broad-mindedness on the level ofmethodology: "PhenomenologicaUy, or skeptically, or empirically inclined," he declares, "I have been more impressed by die complementarity and mutual reinforcement of varying methods than by die exclusive claims of any one ofthem" (p. ix). Instead oftaking sides in die often unproductive disputes of warring critical factions, De Ley prefers an eclectic approach, which wiU aUow him to choose die theoretical viewpoints best equipped to illuminate a given passage. Thus, although he often enlists the aid of Michel Foucault and Thomas S. Kuhn, along die way he also turns to numerous odier scholars as die need for their insight arises. The study is weU organized. Having identified die dimensions of his inquiry in a brief introductory chapter ("Some Models of InteUectual Movement"), De Ley devotes a chapter to each of nine pairs of texts, which he treats more as "written objects" than as examples of discourse belonging to specific genres (p. 6). These texts are discussed: sonnets by Du BeUay and Ronsard describing houses; passages in which Montaigne and Charron treat die thought process; two contrasting passages from L'Astrée in which matters of love are debated; two fencing manuals; a tragedy transformed into a tragicomedy (the 1608 and 1628 versions of Schélandre's Tyr et Sidon); "Two Reflections on Love and Duty" (passages from Garnier's Bradamante and Le Cid by ComeiUe); madiematical works by Descartes and by L'Hospital; two versions of the Phaedra legend, Auvray's little-known tragicomedy L'Innocence descouverte and Racine's jusdy celebrated tragedy Phèdre, examined for their "metaphorical unity" (J. D. Hubert's Essai d'exégèse racinienne figures prominendy here); finaUy, two fables of Reviews355 La Fontaine dealing with superstition. In die concluding chapter (pp. 145-55) De Ley reviews his principal findings and contends that the investigation he has carried out dirough a series of comparative textual analyses "may have significant general application," so diat what he has discovered in a relatively small number ofcases "may weU be characteristic of the movement of French inteUect between 1557 and 1719 and beyond" (p. 148). Nonedieless, being aware that every text "is a discrete textual artifact," he refrains from proclaiming a grand but artificial diachronic syndiesis (p. 154). From a literary critic's perspective, die book's foremost merit is its patient, peUucid elaboration of a set of arguments rooted in close readings. For instance, De Ley's examination of two apparendy simUar sixteenui-century poems leads him to detect an important shift: ". . . words of an epistemologicaUy categorizing sort" are much more prevalent in die Ronsard sonnet dian in die earlier one by Du BeUay (p. 20). De Ley precisely appraises contrastive epistemologica! modes in L'Astrie before linking such preoccupations in Honoré d'Urfé's pastoral romance to theories ofKuhn, Piaget, and Foucault. Despite simUarities between die plays of Auvray (1609) and Racine (1677), De Ley notes diat Auvray's "metaphors . . . group themselves into a relatively limited number of categories" locked within the text, whereas the Racinian metaphors "relate to die plot or to other play themes through a preselected key, the legend of Phaedra's ancestors or die legend of the Minotaur" (pp. 127, 128). The discussion of two poems by La Fontaine ("L'Astrologue qui se laisse tomber dans un puits" and "Un Animal dans la lune") sheds light on a much-observed phenomenon: structural differences between...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 354-355
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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