The Logic of Idolatry in Seventeenth-Century French Literature
Title Details

20th March 2020

253 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Series: Gallica

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

The Logic of Idolatry in Seventeenth-Century French Literature

by Ellen McClure

  • Description
  • Contents
A sensitive investigation into how French writers, including Descartes and Racine, treated a central preoccupation in early modern writings.
Idolatry was one of the dominant and most contentious themes of early modern religious polemics. This book argues that many of the best-known literary and philosophical works of the French seventeenth century were deeply engaged and concerned with the theme. In a series of case studies and close readings, it shows that authors used the logic of idolatry to interrogate the fractured and fragile relationship between the divine and the human, with particularattention to the increasingly fraught question of the legitimacy of human agency. Reading d'Urfé, Descartes, La Fontaine, Sévigné, Molière, and Racine through the lens of idolatry reveals heretofore hidden aspects of their work, all while demonstrating the link between the emergent autonomy of literature and philosophy and the confessional conflicts that dominated the period. In so doing, Professor McClure illustrates how religion can become a source of interpretive complexity, and how this dynamism can and should be taken into account in early modern French studies and beyond.

ELLEN MCCLURE is Associate Professor of History and French, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Notes on Translations
Introduction: The Logic of Idolatry and the Question of Creation
Chapter One: Idolatry and Instability in Honoré d'Urfé's L'Astrée
Chapter Two: Descartes' Meditations as a Solution to Idolatry
Chapter Three: Idolatry and the Questioning of Mastery in La Fontaine's Fables
Chapter Four: Idolatry and the Love of the Creature in Sévigné's Letters
Chapter Five: Theatrical Idolatry in Molière and Racine
Conclusion: The End(s) of Idolatry
Acknowledgments
Bibliography

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Title Details

20th March 2020

253 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Series: Gallica

Imprint: D.S.Brewer