Biography and the Question of Literature in France by Ann Jefferson

By Ann Jefferson

This booklet takes a clean examine the family members among literature and biography via tracing the background in their connections via 300 years of French literature. the start line for this heritage is the eighteenth century whilst the time period "biography" first entered the French language and while the be aware "literature" started to gather its glossy feel of writing marked by means of a cultured personality. Arguing that the belief of literature is inherently open to revision and contestation, Ann Jefferson examines the way biographically-orientated texts were engaged in wondering the definition of literature. whilst, she tracks the evolving kinds of biographical writing in French tradition, and proposes a reappraisal of biography in phrases not just of its varieties, but in addition of its functions.Although Ann Jefferson's ebook has strong theoretical implications for either biography and the literary, it truly is in the beginning a heritage, providing a accomplished new account of the advance of French literature via this twin specialise in the query of literature and at the family among literature and biography. It deals unique readings of significant authors and texts within the mild of those issues, starting with Rousseau and finishing with "life-writing" modern authors reminiscent of Pierre Michon and Jacques Roubaud. different authors mentioned comprise Mme de St?el, Victor Hugo, Sainte-Beuve, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Baudelaire, Nerval, Mallarm?, Schwob, Proust, Gide, Leiris, Sartre, Genet, Barthes, and Roger Laporte.

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Extra info for Biography and the Question of Literature in France

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Les Essais, ed. Verdun L. Saulnier and Pierre Villey, 3 vols. (Paris: Quadrige/Presses universitaires de France, 1988), vol. ii/4, pp. 363–4 [p. 408]. I shall discuss Rousseau’s comment more fully in Ch. 2 below. ⁶ Jules Michelet, ‘Examen des Vies des hommes illustres’, in Plutarque, Vies parallèles, trans. Robert Flacelière and Émile Chambry, ed. Jean Sirinelli (Bouquins; Paris: Robert Laffont, 2001), vol. i, pp. lxix–lxxxiv (p. lxxiii). ⁷ Saint Augustine, The Confessions of St. Augustine, trans.

Petrarch ⁸ See René Aigrain, L’Hagiographie: ses sources, ses méthodes, son histoire (Paris: Bloud et Gay, 1953), pt. 3, ch. 3. ⁹ For a full account of the different forms of life-writing in the early modern period in Europe see Thomas F. Mayer and D. R. ), The Rhetorics of Life-Writing in Early Modern Europe: Forms of Biography from Cassandra Fedele to Louis XIV (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995), which also contains a convenient survey (pp. 12–17). ¹² As far as France is concerned, a similar phenomenon of ‘lives’ of men of letters began to emerge in the course of the sixteenth century.

67–8 (p. 67). ²⁰ For a full discussion of these two texts see Ribard, Raconter, vivre, penser, pp. 182–231. ²¹ See Jean-Claude Bonnet, Naissance du Panthéon: essai sur le culte des grands hommes (Paris: Fayard, 1998), pp. 223–41, 248–51. 38 Lives and the Invention of ‘Literature’ writers such as Corneille, La Fontaine, and Racine, as well as bishops, generals, statesmen, mathematicians, sculptors, and so on, each entry being illustrated with a portrait of the biographical subject. ²³ Nicéron’s dictionary entries included writers of all kinds, ancient and modern, from Livy to Racine, and Petrarch to Spinoza.

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