Through Strangers' Eyes
Fictional Foreigners in Old Regime France
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Purdue University Press
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List of Illustrations
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Like a tree, this book has grown in concentric circles. The starting point was the idea that Montesquieu’s only novel, the Lettres persanes, was a quest novel enacting a search for knowledge by...
Note on References
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Introduction: Ambiguous and Useful Strangers
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Numerous imaginary strangers come calling from the ends of the earth to eighteenth-century Europe: from Turkey, China, Siam, Persia, Peru, Africa, and America, they come, observe, and criticize. ...
Part 1: Montaigne's Cannibals
1. Montaigne's Unknowable Cannibals
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The Enlightenment’s emphasis on the necessity of individual knowledge and the impact of that emphasis on society in general has its roots in the larger movements of philosophy and science occurring in the Renaissance. ...
Part 2: Montesquieu's Persians
2. The Men's Quest for Knowledge: The Impossibility of Transcendence
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Although the Lettres persanes and its author are usually considered as belonging to the eighteenth century, they are actually both on the cusp of the Enlightenment. Montesquieu had a foot in both cultures. ...
3. Women's Knowledge: The Temptation of Equality
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Where do women fit into this general scheme? Kant has a telling sentence in the essay “What Is Enlightenment?”: “The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have...
4. Who Are the Eunuchs?
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Paul Valéry asks the question “Mais qui m’expliquera tous ces eunuques?” and speculates, “Je ne doute pas qu’il n’y ait une secrète et profonde raison de la présence presque obligée de ces personnages...
5. Montesquieu's "Introduction" and "R
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To bring this analysis of the novel to a close, I would like to consider two texts that surround the Lettres persanes: the “Introduction” (7–9), which accompanied the novel in 1721, and the well-known...
Part 3: Graffigny's Elusive Peruvian
6. Graffigny's Lettres d'une P
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Françoise de Graffigny’s epistolary novel begins with two important preliminary texts, an “Avertissement” and an “Introduction historique aux Lettres Péruviennes,” which are an integral part of the novel...
Part 4: Nature Affirmed and Nature Denied
7. Voltaire's L'Ingenu and Claire de Duras's Ourika: The Aristocracy's Betrayals
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This chapter will conclude the study by focusing on two works that have a stranger as chief protagonist, but have diametrically opposed philosophical positions regarding nature and society. ...
Conclusion: Ambiguous Strangers and the Legacy of the Enlightenment
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The purpose of this study was to survey in detail the best- known examples of the naive outsider novels that caught the imagination of the period, and along the way to consider how these novels, far from being...
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Index [Includes Back Cover]
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures