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  1. Their Intertwined History, and Shared Words and Expressions
  2. Numéros en texte intégral
  3. Victor Hugo
  4. Lavinia Miller
  5. Get e-book A CUT ABOVE

Her argument centred on a metaphor and an analogy, both of which bridged the fields of medicine and literature. The prophylactic needed is not a barrier, but an inoculation. Wolmar attempts to cure Julie and Saint-Preux of their love for one another, for example, but never quite succeeds. As Julie contracts smallpox, recovers, but is scarred for life, so she manages to get over her love for Saint-Preux, but will always bear its scars; the physical trace of the disease — like the trace of her love for Saint-Preux — remains.

Building on the argument of scholars such as, of course, Jean Starobinski, Seth explained that this is how Rousseau expected the novel to function: as a literary inoculation that infects readers with a carefully administered dose of morally harmful material, in order to protect them from greater, worldly hazards. However, the remedy was not fool-proof. Side-effects were not the only problem; some readers signally failed to acquire immunity. In the end, Merteuil is not only publicly disgraced, but is also irremediably scarred by smallpox.

Her punishment for failing to learn her lesson about the nature of texts, therefore, is to have her body finally betray her soul. Whether she likes it or not, everyone can now read her like a book. The socially transformative potential of education is precisely what made it the site of countless disputes during the eighteenth century and, as Seth showed, these disputes show no sign of abating.

Their Intertwined History, and Shared Words and Expressions

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You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. These petits talons will suffer multiple erasures as Genlis rewrites and reframes the novel to fit into imperial shoes. As the title indicates, the novel is set during the reign of Charlemagne in the ninth century. Because he saved the life of her father Vititkund, he expects to be rewarded with her hand. But, unfortunately, she has already been promised to Albion, an old and faithful friend of Vitikund. The reader is then treated to a full-blown gothic wedding: a storm, multiple faintings, underground passage-ways, candles blown out, and of course a priest.

Numéros en texte intégral

This marriage is clearly ill-fated. He will eventually recover physically from this wound, but he will never recover from the horror of his deed. Eventually, however, Olivier reveals his mysterious secret to his friend. His curiosity thus piqued, he decides to spy on his friend. Later in the evening, he hears the sound of les petits talons of a woman who enters his room and slips into bed with our hero.


Victor Hugo

The nocturnal visits of a bloody skeleton are meant to be the eternal punishment for his heinous crime. What interests me about this apparition is that, at least in the first three editions, the ghost is real; that is, it is not mere a figment of Olivier overly active imagination. Isambard, as witness, not only sees and hears it, but he also mops up its blood. In a long footnote to the first edition, she defends her choice to include the supernatural in her tale by arguing that she is writing about a different world, the Middle Ages, that possessed different beliefs, which included the supernatural.

She rightly points out that classical and Renaissance literature is replete with ghosts and magical beings.

As I have already stated, what she claims to be her most significant innovation was to have killed off her heroine in the first pages of the novel; yet the novel is nonetheless concerned with her throughout—hence the necessity of the ghost and eventually a double. If she refuses to do their bidding, they will take her and her lands by force. In order to defend their freedom, she makes a general appeal for help to all brave knights, to which Olivier and Isambard respond—as well as a host of others. Her people elect to fight under the banner of their enlightened princess rather than submitting to the laws of a foreign king.

Under Charlemagne, France of the ninth century had legislative assemblies and royal academies of the arts and letters. It is enough to say that after vanquishing the army of the confederate princes, Olivier is mortally wounded by Theudon who mistakes him for Isambard.

Lavinia Miller

The two are married and Olivier dies. O mon ami! The haunted Olivier finally dies for the sake of friendship and the greater good. Importantly, Beatrix is not only the double of Celanire but, is herself a wise and generous ruler; she is also the double of Charlemagne. Thus the agency granted these female characters should not be underestimated. These fanciful stories would no longer make any claim on real-life events—the new regime would take care of the present and future.

Get e-book A CUT ABOVE

To sum up, then, Les Chevaliers du cygne provides a relatively extensive historical and esthetic record of significant ideological continuities and shifts over the course of the Revolution. As we have seen, Genlis, an accomplished writer during the ancien regime, began the novel before the Revolution; its original nine chapters clearly link the s and 80s to post-Revolutionary tastes and concerns.

As Morrissey explains, Charlemagne became an idealized and popular figure of enlightened monarchy during the last thirty years of the eighteenth century. In literary terms, we also note that the roman noir tradition of bloody skeletons and hauntings precedes the Revolution—despite the often repeated comment by the Marquis de Sade to the contrary.

The presence of strong female characters as active agents of social transformation likewise continues an Enlightenment tradition. The edition does, however, portend a significant shift: les fictions morales are declared inutiles. I want to suggest that this is an enormous shift, particularly for a woman novelist. And as she makes this move, the agency of the female characters is also diminished.

It has been said and repeated innumerable times that there is a necessary gap between momentous historical events and good literature.