The Ranums' Panat Times
A quick check in the Loeb Library edition of Horace's Epistles revealed that the Concordia discors locus for Horace remained principally about the workings of nature, always paradoxical, yet measurable and, in some sense, comprehensible as wealth, or its opposite. The tag to Empedocles, and presumably to his disciple, Stertinius, reassures his listener/reader that he has identified a particular argument beneath the examples given to illustrate it. The diffusion of the tag has been assured by Diogenes Laertius's life of Empedocles, the great well of tags about and from ancient philosophers, each with his principal arguments summed up in easy-to-remember commonplaces -- made easy to remember by their linguistic or grammatical cleverness.
There are about 75 specific references to Horace in Montaigne's Essays. I checked them all, and to no avail. In the Apology for Raymond Sebond our tag is quickly mentioned among a long summary of arguments made by various philosophers, "la discorde et amitié d'Empedocles" (Livre II, xii), in fact part of a critique of doing scientific inquiry by merely listing philosophers and their principal arguments. A few lines later, occurs the familiar passage that, again, begins with an analogy to wealth:
En cette pratique et negotiation de science, nous avons pris pour argent content
le mot de Pythagoras, que chaque expert doit estre creu en son art. Le
dialecticien se rapporte au grammarien de la signification des mots; le
rhetoricien emprunte du dialecticien les lieux des arguments; le poete, du
musicien les mesures; le geometricien, de l'arithmeticien les proportions; les
metaphysiciens prennent pour fondements les conjonctures de la physique. Car
chaque science a ses principes presupposez par où le jugement humain est bridé
de toutes parts (II, xii, ed. Thibaudet, p. 605.)
Montaigne shuffles the whole deck. He and the Essays are an exemplum of concordia discors, a unique synthesis of authorial authorities and skeptical learning.
Literary scholars have been quick to situate Le Cid in relation to Corneille's other plays, and to the founding of the Academy; but they rarely mention (Niderst is an exception) that, in 1636, about one-fifth of the realm was in rebellion under the Croquants; that the Grisons had defected for lack of payment, thereby letting Spanish troops pass the Val Telline; that Normandy was reportedly in revolt; that a plot to assassinate Richelieu failed because Gaston d'Orléans had scruples about killing a priest; and that the Spanish swept south and west, to besiege and capture Corbie and much of Picardy. The coinage had been devalued, and the government was on the verge of bankruptcy. The storm created by Le Cid had been unprecedented, and there were plenty of well-read Parisians, including Richelieu, who shared an awareness and fascination with, if not an admiration for, honor as practiced in Spain. The play could not be interpreted as anything but a studied exemplum of the commanders who captured Corbie and made Richelieu think of fleeing Paris. Would the Spanish capture Paris, spring 1637?
There would be allusions to the social-Hispanic parallels in the flow of polemic launched by Le Cid, but it was certainly the elephant in the room. As the king, not Richelieu, rallied his subjects and prepared to lead them north himself, Desmarests de Saint-Sorlin produced Les Visionnaires! In January 1637 Corneille produced Le Cid.
In his Les Abeilles et les Araignées, Marc Fumaroli notes the importance of warfare, but casts it as a question of foreign versus civil strife, as indeed it was for the early 1630s; but by the year of the Spanish invasion at Corbie, it was both.(1) Whether written simultaneously or not, as a response to the sensation caused by Le Cid, the "melancholy" and "autism" of the characters in Les Visionnaires may be interpreted as a satire of the chatter unleashed by Le Cid. Each character projects a self that cannot be engaged by others. Desmarests implies that there can be no "public" capable of generating a critical discussion about a work of literature. One of the characters, a poet, as Fumaroli puts it: "lives in a world of Greco-Roman fables."Thus in the spring of 1637, with Richelieu's support, Les Visionnaires implicitly questioned the possibility for the creation of critical discourse except by honnêtes gens. It would be published in July, just when the academicians were drafting their critique of Le Cid.(2)
Robert Schneider,(3) J. Sawyer,(4) and H. Duccini(5) have rightly discerned the fearful and constrained mood that fell on French culture in the decades immediately following the Wars of Religion. Would the violence start up again? Would vitriolic preaching and plotting return? The backlash to Henri IV's assassination, and the seemingly endless wars against the Huguenots in the South, tamped down bolder voices not only through self-censorship but also through repression. Was it safe to permit published disputes among men of letters? Colloquies between Catholics and Huguenots certainly were not. The Edict of Nantes had made it illegal to research or narrate virtually all aspects of history after 1585, with the exception of royal policy and biography -- as the great de Thou learned.
And then, at only a few months' interval, the Discours de la Méthode and Le Cid stunned the Parisian elite by the arrogance of the authors and the boldness of their thought. Daring to argue that all ancient learning and history have been worthless to him, and daring to write verses that make grown men weep, shocked the senses and prompted bewilderment, especially since both men had been trained in Jesuit schools, with their emphasis upon humility.(6)
1637: a remarkable programmatic statement characteristic of Humanist culture in its emphasis on the immense extension of the individual as expressed in writing, not unlike similar works by Valla, Pico, Erasmus, du Bellay, and Montaigne, ignoring or attacking the teachings of the "Eschole," that is, a late scholastic Aristotelianism. Burckhardt's chapter on Individualism must come to mind.(7)
1637: a play, a tragi-comédie that is at once historical and ethical -- the grandes âmes in verse and action -- written by a modern not unlike Descartes, whose strength of character freed him, as a modern, to pick and choose from Aristotle.
1637: Gassendi was completing his life of Peiresc and working on the question of the magnitude of the sun. Looming already in his mind was a sense that he needed to write a life of Epicurus, but also that, if he was to do philosophy, he had to write a history of it.
1637: letters of nobility arrived in Rouen in March, for Corneille's father. The son of a nobleman would be a gentleman, as Corneille's license in law and his admission to the bar declined in importance.
I shall pursue responses to the playwright, not to the philosophers; but Gassendi's ways of working will be brought up briefly, later.
What I propose to do now is to suggest how the tag concordia discors may help us to understand how the literary broker, Chapelain, applied his expertise and professionalism as a writer (1) to create an ideal, both social and discursive, for fostering better literature; (2) a personal and literary exemplum,(8) that is, a standard of comportment and a vocabulary for literary criticism that combined learning and bienséance(9); and 3) I shall explore the fate of the legal terms and metaphors in one important text of criticism (e.g., the expression "le jugement"), as a measure of the general decline of Robe culture across the century. Here are some general points to recall:
In mid-February 1637, Mlle Paulet had asked Chapelain to ask Desmarests to delete some verses [in Les Visionnaires] that had "shocked" Monsieur de Scudéry. Desmarests accepted to do so and said that he would have removed from Le Cid the ones that had caused a scandal.(10) Scudéry had begun to pose as a critic through the intermediary of a salonnière. In his Observations sur Le Cid, Scudéry creates an honnête pose while displaying his knowledge of classical theory about the theater. Scudéry is assertive and categorical, as a courtly and noble docte, but he uses the vocabulary of judgment. His remark about errors in his own works is mocking, as he almost challenges Corneille to write criticism of them. He claims to be astonished that "le peuple porte le jugement..."(11); and like a hammer at the end: "Après ce que vous venez de voir, jugez (Lecteur) si un ouvrage dont le sujet ne vaut rien, qui choque les principales règles du Poeme Dramatique, qui manque de jugement en sa conduite ...",(12) the frame of bienséance is broken by a frequent and categorical recourse to juridical vocabulary. In contemporary terms, Scudéry's Observations contain what David Denby calls "snark," a type of verbal abuse in our time that is only comprehensible to a specific group.(13) Denby relates writing snark to social rank, the disparity in this instance being between noble rank and the ability to sustain it. Could bienséance and posed anonymity include a near ad hominem attack on the play, if not the author?
Richelieu rather liked Le Cid,(14) and his support for Corneille, as a protector, did not falter; but his marginalia on Chapelain's draft of the Sentiments de l'Académie Française,(15) reveal that the ignorants' (his word) talking and writing about the play became unacceptable. Scudéry had used the words vulgaire and bourgeois to characterize these talkers and writers, certainly more social terms than ignorants was. Would the controversy and polemic get out of control? Scudéry had refrained from attacking Corneille's social-professional and provincial origins, but the very important boundary between the writer and his work for polemic might not hold, and it would be the Academy's task to reinforce it. The effort would be modern; the ancients slammed away at the private lives of poets and philosophers, often descending from a pun on a name to the outright nasty. Would the moderns follow them?
What would be Chapelain's approach to his task? Earlier generations of writers and scholars have usually been content to dismiss Les Sentiments because it was not only a coup d'autorité, it was also derivative.(16) Research by the historians of natural philosophy Lynn Joy(17) and Ann Blair,(18) and historians of sixteenth-century rhetoric Ann Moss(19) and Francis Goyet,(20) suggest how the academician might have conceived of his project, and how he executed it. Hélène Merlin points out that the Academy's task was to find a discourse that legitimated it.(21) For both Descartes and Corneille, their radical Individualism, at once intellectual and social, shocked a society in which creative identities were manifested through relations of protection and corporate membership.(22) By framing his Observations in legalese and Aristotelian criticism, Scudéry set the terms of the exchange. Chapelain would reject the first and deepen the other, with the help of the Stagirite and his Italian commentators. The letters-patent founding the Academy date from the very days when Le Cid was first produced, early January 1637. Not until July of that year would the Parlement register them, and then with the reservation that academicians could discuss only their own works.
Les Sentiments is constructed around commonplaces, or principles taken directly from Aristotle (his name is mentioned), or else from his translator-commentators. Les Sentiments embodied savoir that could not be refuted, since the commonplaces constituted a trans-historical frame on which were fixed points of fact. The latter could, of course, be contested, as occurred in the rejoinders to Scudéry's points. Neil Kenny's remark captures why Les Sentiments was read as authoritative: "Underlying such passages [loci from Aristotle] is the basic Aristotelian tenet that knowledge can only be of universals, not particulars."(23)
The Academy, as Chapelain sought to found it, would be neither a court of law nor a simple sodality. It would be distinct from the courtly by its exclusive expertise, dependent on Conrart and the chancery for defending its privileges and relations with publishers, while its protector controlled membership.(24)
The commentators on Le Cid would wallow in personal opinion. After Concini's execution, some 100 pamphlets had circulated.(25) Richelieu feared a long battle among the men of letters whom he protected. Matthieu de Morgues published that summer still another devastating polemic against Richelieu,(26) just as the Academy was working on Les Sentiments. Chapelain needed all the authority that Aristotelianism could supply -- not just tags pulled from here and there, but tags wrought into a dessein and articulating a method. Chapelain says that Gualdo's biography of Pinelli(27) is the "patron" for Gassendi's life of Peiresc. The possibility that an Italian work provided the dessein for Les Sentiments cannot be excluded. Refuting Scudéry was not really the challenge, nor was the working-out of a relationship with a radically independent provincial poet. The challenge was how to quiet things down and return theater-goers to reading, rather than writing.
Scudéry, probably rightly, thought that Richelieu would approve an attack on a play that had been so arresting to the vulgaire.(28) In the margin of the version submitted to him, Richelieu came down in favor of expertise being necessary if one was to write about literature, and he favored silencing les ignorants. There is a danger in over-interpreting the differences between the two words, just as there is a danger in thinking that ignorant is synonymous with bourgeois.(29) Elitist that he was, and eager to enhance the status of letters, Chapelain favored restrictions on who might write and publish on the subject of Le Cid. Here again, Corneille did not agree, and he said so in his dedication to La Suivante, published in August 1637, just when the Academy was drafting Les Sentiments.
Cependant, mon avis est celui de Térence: puisque nous faisons des poèmes pour être représentés, notre premier but doit être de plaire à la cour et au peuple et d'attirer un grand monde à leurs représentations. Il faut, s'il se peut, y ajouter les règles, afin de ne déplaire pas aux savants, et recevoir un applaudissement universel; mais surtout gagnons la voix publique; autrement, notre pièce aura beau être régulière, si elle est sifflée au théâtre, les savants n'oseront se déclarer en notre faveur et aimeront mieux dire que nous aurons mal entendu les règles que de nous donner des louanges quand nous seront décriés par le consentement général de ceux qui ne voient la comédie que pour se divertir.(30)
Note how he begins with a reference to an ancient authority, one not known for having appealed to the plebs; and note the absence of any reference to the salons. The voix publique is that ontological being that Richelieu and Chapelain also sought to attract to the theater.
The harsh remarks about popular taste are, of course, a commonplace from Aristotle; but torn from its context, the significance changes meaning. Corneille takes up the question in 1660, when he describes how audiences always seem to want the good to triumph and the bad to be punished:
C'est cet intérêt qu'on aime à prendre pour les vertueux qui a obligé d'en venir à cette autre manière de finir le poëme dramatique par la punition des mauvaises actions et la récompense des bonnes, qui n'est pas un précepte de l'art, mais un usage que nous avons embrassé, dont chacun peut se départir à ses périls. Il étoit dès le temps d'Aristote, et peut-être qu'il ne plaisoit pas trop à l'imbécilité du jugement des spectateurs, et que ceux qui le pratiquent s'accomodent au goût du peuple, et écrivent selon les souhaits de leur auditoire. En effet, il est certain que nous ne saurions voir un honnête homme sur notre théâtre sans lui souhaiter de la prospérité, et nous fâcher de ses infortunes.(31)
Here Corneille is in dialogue with Aristotle, whom he characterizes in almost familiar ways, as he addresses what is a primordial question: Why do audiences want the "good guys" to prevail? In Scudéry, the locus is merely social, as it likewise would be in Desmarests.
Here I have anticipated Corneille, the critic of 1660, to illustrate not only how loci can function, but how mis-readings caused by ignoring their contexts can shift the theme from literary to social thought. The Marty-Leveaux edition supplies the Greek. Corneille admits that he is relying on Latin translations; but we shall note later how he responds when faced with conflicting translations of key words.
What were Chapelain's options as he sat down to prepare Les Sentiments? Commonplaces about judgment, including complex metaphors about court procedure, had antique precedents. Quintilian writes about judging literature.(32) This was Scudéry's vocabulary, and it was, of course, very familiar to Chapelain. In his letters to friends he refers to his text as a "jugement" of Le Cid.(33) The first option could have been to elaborate the judicial vocabulary. A second one could be characterized as philosophical; a third, learned; a fourth, the Conférences organized by Renaudot, which were attracting attention in 1637.
Any discussion of the judicial vocabulary in Les Sentiments must begin with Christian Jouhaud's observation that it was very strong in the first version, and that it was replaced by a vocabulary of explanation in the second.(34) In the intervening few weeks, Scudéry's Lettre à l'Illustre Académie is framed in legalese, with the famous reference to the Academy being a "tribunal": "Que Monsieur Corneille paroisse donc, devant le tribunal où je le cite...."(35) Does this continuity in the use of legal vocabulary, from the Observations to the Lettre, suggest that Scudéry remained oblivious to the undercurrents running against the use of legalese? Just where Chapelain's friend, Guez de Balzac, stood on this issue can only be noted here in passing. By 1640 he would make jugement the final mental activity and arbiter over génie and raison.(36) We shall see later how Corneille implicitly rejects this formulation.
As for a philosophical mode, he could have followed Aristotle, Book VIII of the Topics, which described discourse as a disputatio in what Francis Goyet terms l'art de conférer. This type of discourse was philosophical, not bienséant, and it could often culminate in altercatio.(37) Chapelain takes his time in presenting fairly, in Les Sentiments, Scudéry's "Observations," which indicates a desire for a dialogue that is inclusive and built on the humanistic assumption that readers will share in the effort to establish truth and advance knowledge. The interpersonal relations of those frequenting the Cabinet Dupuy -- a learned group only open by invitation -- could become competitive, as specific historical facts, epigrams and Latin tags were exchanged.(38) The Conférences sponsored by Renaudot hit their stride by the mid-1630s.(39) Open to anyone, these were regularly occuring occasions rather than a formal institution; they had no other moderator than the people who assumed leadership owing to their learning, rhetoric and charisma. The Conférences were little more than brief reports of what had been said.
Chapelain does not pursue silence or censure; he seeks concordia about Le Cid. The commonplace about how true knowledge and true eloquence will always be in harmony may have been in his mind, as it was in Descartes's, in the Discours; but he might also have shared the deep convictions of his friend Gassendi about how concordia and science are attained. Here I have been much influenced by the work of Lynn Joy(40) and Emmanuel Bury.(41) Gassendi gave his writings in biography and natural philosophy to Chapelain and other friends to read, and Chapelain offered criticism. This commitment to sharing and community had been strong among Epicureans since Antiquity.(42) In one instance Chapelain proposed that Gassendi translate his terms in physics from Epicurean ones to Aristotle's terms.(43) In Gassendi's case, the commitment to collective literary and scholarly inquiry was deeper and more routinized, as a form of inquiry, than what typically went on in the Republic of Letters. But, as a salonnier, Chapelain also knew that literature ranged far beyond the world of the doctes. I lack the time to research the precise distinctions between conversation and conférer that might have come to mind as Chapelain wrote, but he was struggling to find the right word to describe the type of creative discourse that should prevail, not only in the Academy but also among all gens de lettres. At one point he says "contestation honneste"!(44) What he calls "agitation de la dispute" is to be avoided.(45) Montaigne had associated Empedocles's concordia with amitié, the social relation Chapelain fostered among republicans of letters.
Always fearful of being accused of pedantry, Chapelain sketches lightly, but authoritatively, his views on creative activity and draws an analogy to how this occurs in natural philosophy. Having noted that no work is perfect in its first state, he writes:
Celles qui sont estimées les plus belles sont presque toutes sorties de la contention des esprits; et il est souvent arrivé que par cette heureuse violence on a tiré la Vérité du fons des abysmes. ... C'est une espece de guerre qui est avantageuse pour tous lorsqu'elle se fait civilement.(46)
He then asserts that innocent and profitable quarrels have been known to break out in the entire Cercle des Sciences, between "ces rares hommes de l'Antiquité. Il suffira de dire que parmy les Modernes il s'en est esmeu de tres favorables pour les Lettres. ..." And he continues by noting how recent great works in Italy had been much discussed and threatened by censorship.
In the first version, there is no reference to the Moderns. After alluding to "the rare men of Antiquity," Chapelain ends with a phrase about "la culture de l'esprit et à la recherche des merveilles de la Nature." The Aristotelian "golden mean" between polemic and undiscussed individual creative action produces concordia discors that enables the author-poet to perfect his work, and literary criticism takes its place in "le cercle des sciences," that enkyklos paediaia of the ancient Greeks.
A consensus thus ought to be reached, perhaps with some disagreement in agreement, about the moral and theatrical significance of a work of literature, thus contributing to a paradigm of knowledge about letters not unlike what Thomas Kuhn discerned in his work on scientific revolutions.
Just to recall: a month or two after the production of Le Cid, Corneille had stated his own theory of creativity, encapsulated in the unforgettable phrase "moi seul," in the Excuse d'Ariste (l. 50).(47)
Among writers there were those who took pride in their ability to oblige a fellow writer to remove lines from a text. As briefly mentioned, on February 15, 1637, just weeks after Le Cid had been produced, Chapelain wrote his friend Mlle Paulet:
Suyvant vos orderes, je vis hier M. Desmarests, auquel j'eus à peine proposé de vostre part le retranchement des vers dont M. de Scudéry avoit esté choqué, qu'il me respondit de galand homme que non seulement il les rayeroit volontiers pour l'amour de ceux qui prenoit interest, mais encore osteroit ceux du Cid qui avoit causé ce petit scandale....(48)
Note that Scudéry did not go directly to Desmarests to ask him to excise some lines from Les Visionnaires; he transmitted his wishes through a third party, a friend of Chapelain's, a supposed friend of just about everyone in the grand monde, creating a kind of kinetic spin that enhances power. And then, on his own, Desmarests volunteers to have Corneille remove some verses from Le Cid. It is not clear that Scudéry had, at this point, already written his Observations. But by what authority did Desmarests offer to make such a strong commitment anent Corneille's play?
Another illustration of an excision by a fellow writer occurred when Chapelain made quite major cuts in Gassendi's life of Peiresc, after assuring the author and praising the work.(49) If Chapelain understood Gassendi's manner of working by commentary and critical emendation, he did not make an effort to preserve the integrity of his friend's text.
In his letters, Chapelain puts Gassendi on a pedestal among the learned and recognizes that he is out of his depth in reading some of his friends' works in natural philosophy. He is quite revealing about the Aristotelian way of reading:
... j'ay bien reconneu que ce que je n'en entendois pas ne venoit pas du manquement de l'expression, qui ne peut estre plus pure et ni plus latine, mais du défaut de mon esprit à qui manquent quelques uns des principes necessaires pour cette connoissance.(50)
Close-reading and word-counting both have their limitations. For example, Richelieu is reported to have wanted the Academy's "jugement" on Le Cid; but was that the word he used? On Chapelain's draft, the four marginalia in the Cardinal's own hand -- "il faut un exemple; il faut un temperament; il ne faut point dire cela si absolument; il faut adoucir cette expression"(51) -- do not in their contexts include any words from the vocabulary of judgment. Had the Cardinal desired a legal vocabulary, Chapelain would have done his bidding. Colbert Searles concluded that, except possibly for the first, these comments are stylistic. But taken together, the Cardinal's comments show that he favored a text that would be more nuanced, less categorical, more adouci. Though at one point the Cardinal wished increased harshness toward Corneille, he also wanted "flowers" to be added. This synonym for loci is not the meaning he sought, since Chapelain's phrase "embellit de fleurs" implies emotion, affection and courtliness. Was Richelieu a salonnier too? Not really. But his stable of writers included several salonniers, and for what it is worth, Tallement des Réaux says that the Cardinal "avoit beaucoup d'amitié pour Mme de Rambouillet."(52) In Les Sentiments, Scudéry's points are noted in their original legalese; but when Chapelain replies, it is in his own voice, and he rarely makes a direct appeal that the reader judge either Le Cid or Les Sentiments. There is, of course, the underlying theme, namely that the play is about justice; but when he refers to judges burning the records of a trial along with the criminal, in cases of monstrous and horrible wrong-doing, and talks of "larcin, apparence de justice and chicane, he weakens the more juridical semantic field around the word jugement.
When judges speak collectively, they deliberate; the terms Chapelain uses to describe what the academicians do is to debate in conférences. Downplaying a legal vocabulary to create a new, convivial and scientific atmosphere, Chapelain was carrying out the mission of the Academy's foundation, that is, he was literally expressing and exemplifying a language in which polemic and invective would be absent. The eloquence of the parlementaires, and the Atticism that undergirded it, might more easily have been characterized by discors.(53) The 1630s are far too early to discuss a fully articulated theory of a social order founded on sociability and manners, as Shaftesbury projected and Daniel Gordon has perceived in the salon society of the eighteenth century.(54) Dena Goodman's point about the petty quarrelsomeness and polemic that characterized masculine-dominated institutions such as the universities also deserves mention here.(55)
While the turn away from the vocabulary of the legal profession in favor of a Castiglione-Guazzo-Erasmus-Della Casa vocabulary of honnêteté and manners that was in the air, so to speak, its foundation in history and philology probably would not have been abandoned without the blistering accusations of pedantry that seemed to accompany the lawyer in the salon.(56) It would eventually mean transplanting the critical techniques for determining the authorship of texts, the analysis of word usage -- and diplomatics -- all of which would, in the future, be necessary practices for historians of literature. Gassendi's projects on the life of Epicurus required the use of jurisprudential criticism(57) (one of his friends edited Cujas), but Chapelain would never seek to make his mark in the elite group of the learned who edited and commented on antique texts, the true doctes. The Academy's foundation as a royal institution, and the terms describing its rights, privileges and procedures, were certainly couched in legal vocabulary. By using the vocabulary of bienséance to draft Les Sentiments, Chapelain partially recovered the convivial and informal relations that had characterized the circle around Conrart. The legal professionals had failed to stop the civil wars, and the jumble of laws -- ancient, royal and customary -- might not appeal to the academicians whose task, since 1635, had been to construct a French language superior to all other languages, and up to the task of pursuing perfect eloquence and knowledge. History, the handmaiden of the law, continued to fare poorly in the decades of renewed skeptical thinking.(58) Moreover, while familiar with them, the philological practices of the Scaligers, Heinsius, and Lipsius (important to Gassendi) lacked the direct and quasi-divine status of Aristotle and Horace. It would not be easy for the doctes of the 1630s to give up trying to figure out how Plato, Aristotle, Virgil and Horace could be assured residency in one of the Lord's "many mansions."
If there are no sources to inform us of Chapelain's exact state of mind when, at the top of the holograph page, he wrote Les Sentiments instead of "Jugements," there are sources that indicate the importance of the difference between the two words for him. Commenting on a work sent to him by his friend Balzac, Chapelain wrote: "je ne prétends point vous donner des jugements, mais des sentiments avec naïveté et sans ambition, à mon ordinaire."(59) In this letter written on April 1, 1637, Chapelain goes on to say that Corneille had asked him to forward a copy of Le Cid to Balzac. Then, on June 13, Chapelain wrote Balzac:
La matière, les beaux sentiments que l'Espagnol [the poet Castro] lui avoit donnés [Rodrigue] et les ornemens qu'a ajoutés notre poëte françois, ont mérité l'applaudissement du peuple et de la cour...(60)
Having informed Balzac that he will only offer sentiments, not jugements about his writing, Chapelain now finds sentiments a defining characteristic of the play, as a template for critical thought about it.
In the same letter, and with ill-concealed irritation, Chapelain narrates, in legal vocabulary, his role in the Academy as autobiography:
Maintenant ces chaleurs de poëtes nous embarrassent: car Scudéry se tenant fort de la vérité, a retenu pour juge du différens la noble académie dont vous êtes un des principaux membres; et ensuite la requête qu'il lui a présenté .... E ne croyez pas que je me mocque: l'affaire est passée en procès ordinaire, et moi qui vous parle en ai été le rapporteur.... Dieu veuille que nous en sortions plus à notre honneur que ceux qui nous ont rendus juges souverains et réguliers par leur déference [Scudéry and Corneille] estant obligés par de trop puissantes considérations à ne nous pas récuser nous mesmes en cette cause.(61)
Chapelain had drawn a distinction between judgments and sentiments in his letter of April 1 to Balzac, so it is not right to conclude that the words are synonymous, as Furetière does.(62) And the phrase that follows it -- "... avec naïveté et sans ambition, à mon ordinaire ..." -- goes some distance toward a definition of writing grounded on sentiment (the "first impression") and writing that is not deeply reasoned, that is not for ambitio, that is without self-enhancement or interest.
It is at this juncture that Domna Stanton's remark that the "form of the text as content" clarifies Chapelain's choice of sentiment for his title, Les Sentiments.(63) Thanks to Civardi's edition, we can follow any changes that occurred from the esbauches submitted to the Cardinal, to the final version.(64) There was no modification in the title.
As writer-critic of Balzac's augmented edition of his Letters, Chapelain claims in friendship that he writes down what comes to him on texts that purport to be private or particuliers, but that contain letters to persons prominent in the state. Balzac would soon turn to writing "De la conversation des Romains," which superimposes the frame of bienséance or decorum on the social relations of ancient private life, a frame distinct from the civic-rhetorical frame.(65) J. Laffond suggests that Balzac is "theorizing" the social relations of the Hôtel de Rambouillet through his study of the Romans.(66)
Thus, as Bray pointed out long ago,(67) the legal vocabulary would be submerged in Aristotle's thought, and the framing of criticism about Le Cid made possible the deepening of the analysis of character to the point that bienséance became the grounds for participating vicariously in the play by criticizing it.(68)
Relying on research on Chapelain's library catalog, Searles demonstrates that the principal works of Italian literary criticism from the preceding century had been mined as many as 33 times for points and commonplaces; but he does not address the possible similarities of argument and genre between Les Sentiments and the Italian works (some of which are translations), others are arts of poetry, and others, polemical works.(69) Close comparison might yield interesting results, but it is also clear that Chapelain set out to impose the Academy's views in France, and also to impress the Italians.
After revising La comédie des Tuileries in 1635, Chapelain wrote Boisrobert:
Je l'ay fait avec ce soin principalement pour servir Monseigneur et le divertir de toute l'estendue de mon pouvoir, et ensuitte pour faire voir aux Italiens, qui pensent seuls posséder les sciences et les arts en leur pureté, et qui nous traitent de barbares....(70)
The dessein and the claim to authority could not just be lifted from some Italian work. Les Sentiments would not only be Aristotelian, it would be French, historical, and sententious. Rhetoricians and historians of rhetoric are inclined to develop distinctions between loci, maxims and principles, certainly an understandable and worthwhile direction for research; but they infrequently attempt to determine whether or not writers carefully distinguish among them. We do not know if Chapelain had a commonplace book, but if he did, it might have been like Richelieu's Maximes, that is, a body of short texts about moral and political action, with very few histories or examples.(71) There are no source references. Not a few of these passages remain close to the Quaestio -- for example, whether the purpose of poetry is to be useful or to delight, a subject of heated debate among Italian writers.(72) Chapelain addresses the question and attempts to resolve it by reasonably joining the two as if it were a syllogism informally stated. Did not Montaigne at least name the author he was citing, if not the precise location? Not always. Like the taboo around Latin in salon circles, the citation was not bienséant.
The shift away from doing natural philosophy by ordering and commenting on commonplaces, in favor of applying mathematics and experiment, would accelerate across the century. Gassendi's work would play a part in this revolution. Over the centuries there would be many appeals and references to the Academy as a court of law, but the terms and learning adopted from Robe culture would never become more meaningful about judging than metaphor or than Quintialian's remark about judging being something humans do. Scudéry had wished to humble Corneille, if not break his pen. Many of his criticisms of Le Cid were accepted, but not the tone or the language in which they had been stated.
From what he writes in Le Testament Politique, Richelieu did not foresee the possible consequences of joining the vocabulary of bienséance with an institution such as the Academy. That synthesis, like the honnêteté in the salons, would slowly refashion aristocratic culture and integrate the writers and the artistic into an elite that would eventually be open to a fundamentally different relation between king and subject, bringing an end to the Ancien Régime.
But is Les Sentiments an honnête text, as John Lyons characterizes conversation in Méré?(73) Not really. There are dialogues between texts, claims of utility to the public, and at least fifteen references to reason; but often in a neutral, non-philosophical sense. One example of the philosophical is the recognition that what Scudéry writes is sometimes "une bonne et solide doctrine, fondée sur l'autorité d'Aristote, ou pour mieux dire sur celle de la raison."(74) In some instances, raisonnable would seem to be synonymous with bien-séant. Les Sentiments is perhaps close to the more theoretical aspects of bienséance when it refers to interior bienséance.(75) Searles notes that the Italian commentators on whom Chapelain relied were very attentive to "bonnes manières."(76) And just as Chapelain evokes authorities, so ought we to mention that Bray's pages on bienséance (he quotes Lanson!) derive from reading Aristotle, not Castiglione or Faret.(77)
What we have, then, in Les Sentiments, is a demonstration of literary criticism. The ordering of themes, and the consistent signification of vocabulary grounded on authorities, made possible reading it as science. The presence of history -- that is, Spanish Medieval history -- integrated into the critique contributed to savoir. The ignorant reader could understand it; the learned reader could savor the artful displacement of the familiar applied to new literary circumstances. It was not the author's intention to stifle debate about Le Cid, but to uplift that debate and encourage others to read the ancients, in order to create a modern perspective on the moral and the pleasurable in literature. The obvious must be said here: the truly great reader of Les Sentiments would be Corneille, who at the start of his career as a playwright possessed only a rudimentary knowledge of ancient and modern literary thought. Corneille must be thought of as the great mid-seventeenth-century literary critic.
The trans-historical dimension of criticism would become the predominant approach in the age of Taine, Sainte-Beuve, and Brunetière. In order better to comprehend, frame or reject a literary work, the seventeenth-century critic brought to bear on it principles -- loci -- that are true at all times and in all places. The pursuit of order had, as its opposite, fear of the particular unreasonable disorder, the product of the undisciplined imagination. For the ancients, what was thought to be criticism did not go beyond the boundaries of the stoa or the garden. The person who simply published what he thought about a play, skidded toward oblivion or scandal. The loci shift the "critic" not only to the historical -- Antiquity -- but also to the reasoned trans-historical, and to the author's choice of loci and their contextualization is his art.
In 1957 Noémi Hepp characterized Chapelain's project as one that defines criticism as discerning or finding the faults in a work of literature, and perhaps in its author.(78) From Chapelain, Corneille, Bouhours, Rapin, Boileau, Houdard, and the Daciers, Hepp pulls out the significant critical terms and finds that, of the direct Latin sources, 275 (only 10 percent) derive from indirect Latin sources. Put another way, about 250 critical terms from Latinized Aristotle, Horace, Cicero, and Terence, come directly into French with very little semantic variance. All the legal terms -- plus plaisir, esprit, génie, raison, naturel, goût, parties, for example -- may be found in antique criticism. Hepp does not find important shifts in meaning from the Latin to the Italian used by Aristotle's commentators.
The terms that, although they derive from Latin, have more complex meanings come from the language of honnêté and from what she calls "psychology": passion, imagination, chaleur, dessein (a modern word, but Aristotle had the idea, p. 360), force, cœur, caractère, style, froid, bas, for example. A word such as simple, while found in ancient Latin criticism, took on a more moral and less mondain significance (p. 378). While esprit, génie, and imagination were typically employed to characterize authors, these same terms yielded richer and more variegated meanings in spirituel, plein d'esprit, and ingénieux (p. 383). Tempting as it is to explore Hepp's findings on the Latin origins of the vocabulary of criticism, our understanding of the continued reliance on loci leads us directly to the chef d'œuvre in mid-seventeenth-century criticism, namely, Corneille's Trois Discours published in 1660: on the Dramatic Poem, on tragedy, and on the unities.
Georges Couton deftly touches on how much France had changed since 1637, not only politically but culturally and socially.(79) A self-assertive, still hierarchical, and very mannered courtliness, and a high-consuming urbanity undermined fascination for the heroically political. Corneille had been careful to replace any equivocal terms or innuendo in his early comedies; and whenever he modified lines in his later plays, including Le Cid, bienséance gained weight over respect for historical fact or the desire to shock. The Parlement's fears that the Academy might become a real court were assuaged.
We can perceive him as constantly in dialogue with himself over every aspect of current and past theatrical life. While writing the examens, Corneille had developed a direct, almost intimate, sardonic style. His aim is to anticipate any and all possible serious lines of criticism that someone else might develop. In short sentences, often with double negatives, he evaluates his verse and states categorically what he accepts from history. What remained to be done was to undermine the paradigm of agreement about tragedy that Chapelain and his colleagues thought they had authoritatively and collectively established.
To characterize formally Les Trois Discours is beyond my competence.(80) I shall close with some remarks about the periphery of meanings, in the context of what has been found in Les Sentiments. The center of these Discours is a virtual geometry about the unities, character, reason, and sentiment, history, Antiquity, Modernity, the public, the poet. Clair Carlin's characterization of Corneille's project as a "drive for distinction" is on the mark.(81) He is rejecting the theory of collective Concordia discors in creative writing.
In Les Sentiments, authority is institutional, royal, and Aristotelian. In Les Trois Discours he avows respect for Aristotle and quotes or cites Plautus, Horace, Terence, Grotius, Sephonius, Castelvetro, Robertel, Ghirardelli, Barclay, Buchanan, and Heinsius; but the only dialogue is with Aristotle, as the guide to understanding two distinct bodies of plays: those of the ancient Greeks, and those of Corneille. The effect is to imply that his plays are worthy of being considered with those of the ancients.
Corneille observes that there are obscure passages in Aristotle, and that parts of the text are perhaps lost. After comparing differences in the translation of certain Greek terms into Latin and Italian, he adds:
Dans cette diversité d'interprétations, chacun est en liberté de choisir, puisque même on a le droit de les rejeter toutes ... et que les opinions des plus savans ne sont pas des lois pour nous.(82)
This is a manifesto in favor of authorial authority.
Corneille notes interpretations that are wrong, because as maxims they mean one thing, but in their context they mean something else. He includes maxims, but he also admits that he has included some unknown to the ancients. Chapelain had written as if "la bonne doctrine" was an established savoir. Corneille not only shares the difficulties of understanding a text whose meaning is inherently unstable, he goes one step further by suggesting that Aristotle would modify his text if he were to see the plays performed in the seventeenth century -- including, of course, plays by Corneille. Corneille thus reveals respect for the philosopher's method as something distinct from his findings. At one point, however, his school-boy training came to the fore: "Il reste donc à trouver un milieu entre ces deux extrémités...." The golden mean, again. In fact, he joins Aristotle in offering critical remarks about all the ancient playwrights and their works.
In Les Sentiments, Chapelain refers to the rules of Art, the vices of Art, and the sins against Art; but he does not make the word work to enhance the meaning of literature, or the poet. Corneille writes:
Quelques personnes de condition qui peuvent tout sur moi, ont voulu que je donnasse mes sentiments au public sur les règles d'un Art qu'il y a si long temps que je pratique assez heureusement.(83)
The vocabulary of art/practice that we found in Montaigne's quote from Pythagorus is complemented, even articulated by what Corneille calls "l'espérience [sic] du théâtre,"(84) to paraphrase theory and practice with expérience yielding its own savoir. When Corneille states emphatically that the playwright's only aim ought to be to please, he evokes Aristotle and notes that the word "utility" upon which so many insist, is not even in the philosopher's text (p. 119). The useful must be delectable before anything else.
When Christian Jouhaud sensed that Les Sentiments were turning from legalese to a vocabulary of explanation about Le Cid, he did not find that word; but as a critical reader, he sensed what was happening. In Les Trois Discours Corneille uses expliquer about Aristotle, Castelvetro, and himself. Expliquer, or explicare, that is, to unfold, to develop, as in a drama, without clarification or justification. would over the century become a term in the critical vocabulary.(85) The public would seem to be ever-present in Corneille's mind, but he does not expatiate on it. Neither the court, nor the salons, nor the doctes are taken into consideration.
By now, my conclusion has long since become apparent. There is little judicial vocabulary in Corneille's Trois Discours; but there are two instances worth noting, one of them the statement about judging translations from the Greek that we have already noted. The other is in a quotation from Aristotle! Corneille does not ask the reader to judge his writing. When defining vraisemblable, Corneille uses bienséance in a quotation from Aristotle.(86) In both Scudéry and Chapelain, it is mentioned as an approach or an alternative mode of criticism.(87) For Corneille, there would always be a confrontation between the historical and the honnête. Was he being mindful of the bienséances? Yes, but his aims and intentions, conscious or unconscious, were far more profound than that, because as he pursued true eloquence, Corneille trusted his expérience and his gifts as a poet.
In his dialogues with the ancients, Corneille comes close to proceeding as Gassendi did, that is, taking pleasure in critique.(88) There is a philologia grounded on the assumption that Aristotle's meaning can never be fully recovered, but that the mind eagerly goes about doing the best it can to interpret.
While he may have disagreed with Chapelain about social conditions for creativity, and about the ways of reading Aristotle, it is nonetheless possible to sense that Corneille found that he had to discuss all aspects of the dramatic poem. He is including points about which he personally had nothing to say, thereby revealing the force of the bride in a science.
And yet he was not able to be only on his own, with his expérience. While he may not still be inspired by Aristotle, Aristotle is still there when he rejects him. There may have been thoughts, without the Stagarite's coming to mind. For example, as Corneille imagined a very different stage, he expressed his desire to be like the jurists who had fictions in the law. He asks: Why no fictions in the theater? A fiction is a lie, a disguised truth, a dissimulation; and jurists do indeed use them as foundations from which to argue. Corneille is perhaps at his most modern when he proposes borrowing from the world of the law to support the idea of a new stage design, and at the same time lets the reader infer that jurisprudence may be founded on un-truth. As we noted at the beginning, Montaigne says: "chaque science a ses principes présupposez par où le jugement humain est bridé de toutes parts." But Corneille's superbe bursts through at the end:
Quoi qu'il en soit, voilà mes opinions, ou si vous voulez, mes hérésies touchant les principaux points de l'art; et je ne sais point mieux accorder les règles anciennes avec les agréments modernes. Je ne doute point qu'il ne soit aisé d'en trouver de meilleurs moyens, et je serai tout prêt de les suivre lorsqu'on les aura mis en pratique aussi heureusement qu'on y a vu les miens.(89)
The heroic individual voice is as strong as ever. Chapelain may have worked out an Aristotelian critique of Le Cid, when he describes it as better than any previous modern play, but it is not fully perfected, parfaite. Corneille accepted this critical frame and rather happily asserts (Senecan felicitas) that, while willing to take up whatever comes along that might inspire a play better than his, it is, in fact, his plays that are presently the best!
1. Anne-Marie Lecoq, ed., La Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes (Paris: Gallimard, 2001), p. 98. See also M.R. Margitić, "Sociological Aspects of La Querelle du Cid," Homage to Paul Bénichou, ed. S. Romanowski and M. Bilezikian (Birmingham, AL: Summa Publications, 1994), pp. 59-72.
2. Desmarests' explicit views on the Querelle are found in his Argument to Les Visionnaires, G. Hall, ed. (Paris: Didier, 1963), pp. 7 ff, a diatribe directed not only at le peuple but at the poets who write for them, certainly also Richelieu's view. Writing to please le peuple is characteristic of those republics where "il [le peuple] courra plustost en foule pour voir un monstre, que pour voir quelque chef d'œuvre de l'art, ou de la nature."
3. While awaiting Schneider's forthcoming book, see his "Disclosing Mysteries, the Contradictions of Reason of State in Seventeenth-Century France," in Das Geheimnis am Beginn des europaïschen Moderne, G. Engle., B. Rang, K. Reichert, H. Wunder, and J. Eluikin (Frankfurt am Mein, 2002), pp. 159-78; and "Political power and the Emergence of Literature: Christian Jouhaud's Age of Richelieu," French Historical Studies, 25 (spring 2002), 357-80.
4. J. Sawyer, Printed Poison; Pamphlet Propaganda, Faction Politics, and the Public Sphere in Early Seventeenth-Century France (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1990).
5. H. Duccini, Faire voir, Faire croire, l'opinion publique sous Louis XIII (Paris: Champ Vallon, 2003).
6. See the forthcoming Daily Life in the Jesuit Novitiate in Paris in 1685, P.M. Ranum, ed. (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources).
7. J. Burckhardt, Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (New York: Modern Library, 1954).
8. G. Collas, Jean Chapelain (Geneva: Slatkine, 1970), III.
9. G. Lanson, "Chapelain," La Grande Encyclopédie.
10. Discussed below. The principal source is a letter from Chapelain to Mlle Paulet, Feb. 15, 1637, in Chapelain, Lettres, P. Tamisey de Larroque, ed. (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1880), I, p. 137.
11. J. M. Civardi, La Querelle du Cid (Paris: Champion, 2004), p. 368.
12. Civardi, p. 372.
13. D. Denby, Snark (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2009).
14. See Civardi's Introduction, passim.
15. Superbly edited by Civardi, pp. 930-99. Though Civardi has carefully integrated the findings of C. Searles, these apostilles are easier to grasp in the photographs in Searles's edition, in Studies in Language and Literature (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1916), no. 3, Les Sentiments de l'Académle Françalse sur Le Cid, pp. 1-112.
16. Civardi, p. 923.
17. L. Joy, Gassendi, the Atomist (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987), chapters 3 and 4.
18. A. Blair, The Theatre of Nature: Jean Bodin and Renaissance Science (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. 1997), passim.
19. A. Moss, Printed Commonplace Books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). Cf. B. Beugnot, "Florilèges et Polyanthae; diffusion et statut du lieu commun à l'époque classique," Études Françaises (Montréal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1972), vol. 13, pp. 119-41.
20. F. Goyet, Le Sublime du "lieu commun"; l'invention rhétorique dans l'Antiquité et à la Renaissance (Paris: Champion, 1996), chapters 6 and 7, also offers a convincing reading of Corneille's Horace. C. Faisant, "Lieux communs de la critique classique et post-classique," Études Françaises (Montréal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1972), vol. 13, pp. 143-62.
21. H. Merlin, Public et littérature en France au XVIIe siècle (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1994), pp. 224 ff.
22. P. W. Shoemaker, Powerful Connections; the Poetics of Patronage in the Age of Louis XIII (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007), passim. For the academicians, C. Delhez-Sarlet, "L'Académie française au temps de Richelieu," Marche Romane, 29: 1-2 (1979), pp. 41-60. Pellisson probably exaggerates the sense of personal autonomy sought by the academicians in the 1630s, but the low and irregular attendance indicates opposition to the Cardinal. See H. Stenzel, " 'Premier champ littéraire' und Absolutische Literatur Politik," in K. Garber and H. Wismann, Europaïsche Societätsbewegung (Tübingen, 1996), I, pp. 410-36.
23. N. Kenny, The Palace of Secrets; Béroald de Verville and Renaissance Conceptions of Knowledge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), p. 98. Chapelain uses the term principe when commenting on a work of natural philosophy. Attempts to draw distinctions between sentences and lieux communs have been interesting but not conclusive. Elena Garofalo, La Sentence dans le théâtre du XVIIe siècle: les tragédies de Pierre Corneille (1635-1660 (Paris: A.N.R.T., 2004). See Corneille, "Discours de l'utilité des parties du poëme dramatique," in Œuvres complètes, G. Couton, ed. (Paris: Gallimard, 1987), III, pp. 117-90. What Dennis Des Chene writes about Aristotelianism helps scholars grasp what had been abandoned from the philosophy of the schools, Physiologia: Natural Philosophy in Late Aristotelian and Cartesian Thought (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1996), Introduction. See also J. Headley, Tommaso Campanella and the Transformation of the World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 145-79, who asks whether or not On Gentilism is a kind of "manifesto," p. 147.
24. N. Schapira, Un professionel des lettres au XVIIe siècle: Valentin Conrart (Paris: Champs Vallon, 2003), chapters 2 and 3. On the Chapelain-Balzac friendship, C. Jouhaud, Les pouvoirs de la littérature (Paris: Gallimard, 2000), chapter 2.
25. Duccini, p. 329.
26. M. Morgues, Diverses pièces pour la défense de la Reine Mère (Antwerp, 1637).
27. Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 162; P. Miller, Peiresc's Europe (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2000) p. 20.
28. Civardi, p. 116. What seems so elitist and snobbish may in fact have veiled fears that ran deeper than loss of favor or censure by the Parlement or the Church, very sound reasons to be fearful. Chapelain writes: "Il n'est pas question ici de satisfaire les libertains et les vicieux qui ne font que rire des adultères et des incestes ... pourvu qu'ils se divertissent. Il n'est pas question de plaire à ceux qui regardent toutes choses d'un œil ignorant ou barbare," Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 360. In a society where one-fifth of the wealth was controlled by celibates, the law courts royal still had conseillers clercs; and in the republic of letters, which remained largely celibate, fears of sexual behaviors nourished codes of comportment that unleashed waves of verbal and gestural correctness. The passions had to be purged from the theater, not aroused.
29. Scudéry, Observations sur Le Cid, in Civardi, p. 368, and Richelieu, "Apostles," Civardi, pp. 927, 934. For Chapelain, Civardi, p. 937.
30. Cited by Z. Youssef, Polémique et littérature chez Guez de Balzac (Paris: Nizet, 1972), p. 186.
31. Corneille, Œuvres complètes, III, p. 122.
32. E. Dubois, 'Ingenium et Judicum: quelques réflexions sur la nature de la création poétique," in Critique et création littéraires en France au XVIIe siècle, colloque, C.N.R.S. (Paris: C.N.R.S., 1977), p. 312.
33. To Boisrobert he writes (July 31, 1637): "Monsieur, je ne doute point que Monseigneur [Richelieu] ayant daigné jetter les yeux sur cette esbauche de jugement que j'ai faitte du Cid ...," Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 159. The excuses that Chapelain makes about his text clarify his sense of purpose in using judicial vocabulary in this first draft.
34. "Power and Literature: the Terms of the Exchange, 1624-1642," Censorship, Political Criticism, and the Public Sphere, R. Burt, ed., "Cultural Politics, vol. 7, 1994 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), pp. 34-82.
35. Civardi, p. 567.
36. Z. Youssef, pp. 271 ff.
37. Goyet, p. 693 and passim.
38. J. Delatour, Une bibliothèque humaniste au temps des guerres de religion: les livres de Claude Dupuy, d'après l'inventaire dressé par le libraire Denis Duval (1595) (Paris: École des Chartes, Éditions de l'ENSSIB, 1998) passim; and Miller, pp. 68 ff., particularly emphatic about the differences between antiquarian and salon cultures.
39. K. Wellman, Making Science Social: The Conferences of Théophraste Renaudot, 1633-1642, Series in History and Culture, Volume 6 (Norman, Ok.: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003).
40. Joy, chapters 2-4. Joy elucidates how Gassendi understood doing philosophy as researching the history, and thereby the framing of the discipline. Bury notes Gassendi's legal-humanist approach (Donald Kelley) to ancient texts.
41. E. Bury, "Gassendi: philologie et République des Lettres," XVIIe Siècle, 233, no. 4 (2006) pp. 655-63.
42. A. Grafton and M. Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2006), pp. 55, 225 ff.
43. Joy 122. I doubt that Chapelain "demanded" such a translation. He probably suggested, or "asked" for it.
44. Civardi, p. 933.
45. Civardi, p. 932.
46. Civardi, p. 933.
47. See Civardi, pp. 296 ff., for an overview. Note especially the inexorable logic in Jouhaud's close reading, cited p. 300.
48. Hall, xxxi; Chapelain, Lettres, I, 137-138.
49. Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 569. He had been asked to read with a view toward cutting it, I, p. 558. J. Lafond, L'homme et son image (Paris: Champion, 1996), p. 68: "Le vieux thème cicéronien de la collaboration nécessaire et féconde de l'éloquence et de la philosophie est repris, depuis 1550 ..."
50. Chapelain, Lettres, I, 706.
51. Civardi, pp. 944, 945, 974, 998. Searles's findings on the "apostilles" made by the Cardinal have been carefully and accurately incorporated by Civardi. Their contexts and the critique of Pellisson still merit attention, "L'Académie française et Le Cid," Revue d'Histoire littéraire de la France (1914), pp. 331-74.
52. Tallement des Réaux, Historiettes, ed. G. Mongrédien (Paris: Garnier, s.d.), II, p. 43.
53. Over all these issues looms Marc Fumaroli's discussion of Atticists and Asianists in L'Âge de l'éloquence. Rhétorique et "res literaria" de la Renaissance au seuil de l'époque classique (Paris: Droz, 1980), passim.
54. D. Gordon, Citizens without Sovereignty: Equality and Sociability in French Thought, 1670-1789 (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1994), passim; and L. Klein, Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
55. D. Goodman, The Republic of Letters; a Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1994), pp. 91 ff.
56. Across the century, the point of reference would remain Montaigne (Essais, I, 25). See F. E. Beasley, Salons, History, and the Creation of Seventeenth-Century France (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), for an overview; and for social history see C. Lougee, Le Paradis des femmes (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1976). While the "facts" are well known, little in a synthetic way has been written about lay writers' rush to learning that was partly a cause and partly a consequence of quarrels across the century. Exceptionally illuminating are R. Zuber, Les 'Belles Infidèles' et la formation du goût classique (Paris: Colin, 1968); N. Hepp, Homère en France au XVIIe siècle (Paris: Klincksieck, 1968); and T. Goyet, L'Humanisme de Bossuet (Paris, 1965), 2 vols.
57. Bury, pp. 660 ff.
58. While taking note of the skeptical currents, the recent and best work on historical thought suggests that skepticism about history remained largely a question addressed by philosophers, and that writers of history took little account of it. S. Uomini, Cultures historiques dans la France du XVIIe siècle (Paris: l'Harmattan, 1998); and B. Guion, Du bon usage de l'Histoire (Paris: Champion, 2008), p. 244.
59. Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 147.
60. Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 156. Civardi, p. 913, asserts that Chapelain rejected the juridical vocabulary because it was inappropriate for epideictic, the "grave" style in which he chose to write. This "style grave" accords with the suggestion that he was seeking to establish literary criticism as a science. The rejection of the vocabulary of judgment did not mean a suspension of interest in justice or the judicial on the part of honnêtes gens. Corneille seems aware of the difference between the more Greek emphasis on equity, and the Roman greater emphasis on justice. For an overview, J. Jehasse, "Le juste et l'injuste sous Richelieu," Le Juste et l'Injuste à la renaissance et à l'âge classique (St. Étienne: Presses universitaires, 1986), pp. 143-56.
61. Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 156.
62. Quoted by Civardi, p. 999.
63. D. Stanton, The Aristocrat as Art (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1980), p. 139.
64. Civardi, p. 930.
65. Chapelain wrote Balzac: "Et parce que le titre est une des choses plus considérables dans un livre...," Lettres, I, p. 144. By "title" he means mode of address, that is, Monsieur rather than sieur: "... ce sieur estant bas en ce temps et pris par ceux mesme qui donnent au public des bagatelles les plus mèprisables." See the reproduction of the title page in Searles, ed., Les Sentiments, plate IV. Writing to Scudéry, Chapelain calls what he is drafting a "discours raisonné," Lettres, I, p. 163.
66. J. Laffond, L'homme et son image (Paris: Champion, 1996), p. 30. See also B. Guion, Du bon usage de l'histoire (Paris: Champion, 2008), p. 244.
67. R. Bray, La Formation de la doctrine classique en France (Paris: Hachette, 1927), pp. 218 ff.
68. Civardi, p. 363. I do not share the view that bienséance makes a work less moral: it is more internalized and less verbally explicit, but just as moral.
69. C. Searles, "Italian Influences as seen in the Sentiments of the French Academy on the Cid," Romanic Review, 3 (1912), pp. 362-390.
70. Chapelain, Lettres, I, p. 89. For the relations in learned culture between France and Italy, F. Waquet, Le Modèle français et l'Italie savante (1660-1750) (Rome: École française de Rome, 1989), IV-V.
71. F. Hildesheimer, Relectures de Richelieu (Paris: Publisud, 2000), pp. 223 ff.
72. Searles, "Italian Influences," p. 390.
73. J. Lyons, "Being and Meaning: the Example of the Honnête Text," Biblio 17, P.F.S.C.L., 5 (1982), pp. 152-72.
74. Civardi, p. 956. As in Descartes, "bon sens" is synonymous with raison, p. 971.
75. Civardi, p. 983; Bray, pp. 216, 224.
76. Searles, "Italian Influences," pp. 383, 384. See Civardi's overview of this question, pp. 999-1009.
77. Bray, p. 219: "Ce sont les attaques de Scudéry contre Le Cid qui donnèrent un nouveau lustre à la vieille théorie des mœurs."
78. N. Hepp, "Esquisse du vocabulaire de la critique littéraire de la Querelle du Cid à la Querelle d'Homère," Romanische Forschungen (Frankfurt), 1957, pp. 332-408. See also the ever-awesome F. Brunot, Histoire de la langue française (Paris: Colin, 1913), IV, containing a chapter entitled "Exclusion des mots du Palais."
79. G. Couton, "Corneille en 1660," XVIIe Siècle, 50-51 (1961), pp. 43-63.
80. G. Couton's Introduction to Corneille, Œuvres complètes, III, pp. 1391-94, provides the point of departure, but how to characterize Corneille's rhetoric? H. Davidson long ago found d'Aubignac to be borrowing and synthesizing rhetorics, pp. 169-81 in Critique et création littéraires; and, also in Critique et création, Fumaroli, p. 289, who finds that the rhetoric taught by the Jesuits before 1650 would be abandoned later in the century. Might this text be exemplary classical prose, the synthesis of Atticism and Asianism grounded on newly created grammatical and stylistic rules?
81. C. Carlin, Pierre Corneille Revisited (New York: Twayne, 1998), p. 9.
82. He implies that sentences, instructions morales, maximes, and lieux communs are synonymous, Corneille, Œuvres complètes, III, p. 120. In his letter to de Pure, Corneille refers to maximes perhaps taken from Machiavelli, III, p. 6.
83. Corneille, Œuvres complètes, III, p. 140.
84. Corneille, Œuvres complètes, III, p. 141. See also p. 119, for a critique of the grammarians and philosophers (d'Aubignac included) who have lacked the theatrical experience that would help them interpret Aristotle and Horace.
85. G. Cayrou, Le français classique (Paris: Didier, 1948), p. 370. Hepp does not include it in her Esquisse of the vocabulary of criticism. "Ce n'est pas démentir Aristote, que de l'expliquer ainsi favorablement ...," p. 153.
86. Corneille, Œuvres complètes, III, p. 166.
87. Civardi, pp. 395, 966.
88. Bury, p. 661.
89. Corneille, Œuvres complètes, III, p. 190.
For the raison d'être of the above paper, see the website of the NYU French Department, http://french.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/4260/Arc2009.pdf (page 12):
"CONCORDIA DISCORS, the 41st annual confe of the North-American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature, co-organized and hosted by Benoît Bolduc and Henriette Goldwyn, welcomed 137 scholars from around the world May 20-23. Held at 19 University Place, the Maison Française, and the ninth floor of the Kimmel Center overlooking the newly reopened Washington Square, the event included 31 sessions that explored tensions and paradoxical equilibria within the discipline of 17th-century French studies; two key note lectures; and a round table discussion on the future of the discipline. In keeping with Professors Bolduc and Goldwyn’s academic interests, several sessions were dedicated to theatre and the performing arts, narrative fiction, history, religion, and gender studies. Judith Miller, Chair of the French Department; Tom Bishop, Chair of the Center for French Culture and Civilization; and Edward Sullivan, Dean of the Humanities welcomed the participants. Professor Eglal Henein (Tufts) delivered a provocative comparative analysis of the historical settings of Honoré d’Urfé’s L’Astrée – an important pastoral romance set in Gaul known almost exclusively by specialists until it was adapted to film by Eric Rohmer in 2007 – and the well-know series of Astérix comic books set in the same period. The second keynote lecture was delivered by Professor Orest Ranum (Johns Hopkins) who shed new light on the Querelle du Cid, one of the period’s seminal cultural debates. His lecture along with selected papers from the conference will be edited by Professors Bolduc and Goldwyn and published in Les Actes de New York by Gunter Narr (Tübingen) in 2011."
Rather than drastically cut the paper, Orest and NASSCFL agreed to make it available on line, thereby freeing up space for other participants.