In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS 433 Bage's Mount Henneth where a character has been caught stealing turnips from a farmer's field. It is only appropriate that Ty (pronounced "tea") should be followed by turnips. Shifting Genres, Changing Realities is, after all, an interdisciplinary study that transcends traditional boundaries. Eleanor Ty Wilfrid Laurier University Pierre Carlet de Marivaux. Le Bilboquet. Préface et notes de Françoise Rubellin. Saint-Etienne: CNRS-Éditions, 1995. 113pp. FFrIOO. ISBN 2-86272-069-0. Le Bilboquet is a slender work, Marivaux's text occupying barely twenty-five pages of the present edition. In contrast, eighty-three pages are given over to the introduction and associated critical apparatus, which are a model of investigative scholarship and stimulating interpretation. Le Bilboquet (1714) is among the least known of Marivaux's works, partly, no doubt, because it figures among his neglected œuvres de jeunesse, and partly because of the extreme rarity of original copies. Only three are known to exist: the first came to light in 1938, the second in 1975, while the third was discovered more recently, by the editor herself, at Princeton University Library. After a summary of this information, Françoise Rubellin considers the history of the original publication, giving particular attention to the question of why Le Bilboquet was refused a privilège and subsequently appeared bearing a simple permission du lieutenant de police. She sees in these events nothing to suggest that Marivaux's work might have been construed as in some way seditious, and concludes that, in all probability, it was simply too short or inconsequential to merit a privilège. Consideration is then given to the reasons underlying Marivaux's choice of subject, and Rubellin shows, through a detailed examination of contemporary iconography and literary sources, that the game of bilboquet was in fashion at the time when the author composed his work. This conclusion leads logically into a major section entitled "La portée sociale du Bilboquet." Rubellin begins by examining the stylistic features of this work, the form of the epistolary novel, the use of allegory, parody, and satire, concluding that in it, "Marivaux [fait] ses armes, comme dans Pharsamon ou dans La Voiture embourbée, pour trouver un romanesque nouveau, débarrassé des conventions du grand roman précieux, et plus proche de la réalité" (pp. 63-64). But what is the object of Marivaux's satire? Are we, like G. Bonaccorso, to accept the narrative at face value as a simple condemnation of a frivolous social pastime? Rubellin rejects this view, suggesting that to do otherwise would be to classify Marivaux "parmi les sévères moralistes jansénistes bannissant les divertissements" (p. 68). Instead, she advances an interpretation based on a figurative reading of the text. Marivaux's use of hyperbole is seen as a means by which the author distances himself from his subject; hyperbole is the foundation of irony, and irony "nous invite à retourner le sens apparent du texte, et à en faire un plaidoyer contre l'austérité" (p. 69). Accordingly, the bilboquet becomes a symbol of life and energy; Marivaux, through his text, is seen to defend "la liberté de jouer comme celle d'écrire" (p. 75). Such a view is entirely plausible: it extends our understanding of the important place of allegory in Marivaux's work; it concords with our understanding of him as a tolerant moralist; and exemplifies the importance of badinage within the ethic of honnêteté to which Marivaux subscribed. Apart from the first edition, the only other available version of Le Bilboquet is the one provided by 434 EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FICTION 8:3 Frédéric Deloffre in the Pléiade edition of Marivaux's Œuvres dejeunesse (1972); in her own footnotes, Rubellin refers, where appropriate, to both previous editions. In sum, the present work should do much to increase our knowledge and understanding of the corpus of Marivaux's work: it is a most welcome addition to existing scholarship and deserves the widest possible dissemination. D.J. Culpin University of St Andrews, Scotland Claudia L. Johnson. Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s—Wollstonecroft, Radcliffe, Burney andAusten. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. xi + 239pp. US...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 433-434
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.