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Title:Figures and movements in seventeenth century conspiracy plays
Author(s):Mikhaleff, Anne Wensing
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):De Ley, Herbert
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Modern
Literature, Romance
Abstract:This dissertation addresses the problem of the French aristocracy's definition of Self at a precarious moment in its history--a moment in which the aristocracy finds itself confronted with a rising absolutism "from above" while having to grapple with an epistemology in full transformation "from below." This transformation can best be described as a modulation from the Aristotelian paradigm to that of the Cartesian "rationalist" model. Among the epistemological figures undergoing a change in configuration were those of language, socioeconomic relationships and the perception of the physical world--three figures vital to conspirators who needed to communicate among themselves, who needed to form viable working relationships and who needed to envision logistic strategies in order to successfully bring about the ruin of the enemy (the sovereign). This study thus adopts as separate points of departure these three areas in which the necessity of working together dictates a certain behavior to the aristocratic conspirators and which provide them with the opportunity of re-defining themselves as a force independent of and opposed to the sovereign. The question asked is the following: In the midst of one epistemological break-up and the advent of another, are the thought patterns immanent to the new epistemology appropriated, remodeled and/or rejected by the conspirators? In other words, are the aristocratic conspirators successful in their attempt to re-ground their identity as a separate group vis-a-vis the sovereign?
The answers to such an inquiry lead to a somewhat paradoxical conclusion. In their reconfiguration of the newly-emerging epistemological figures at their disposal, the aristocratic conspirators perform a legitimation rather than a subversion of the principles of absolutism: they view their position within each of the changing figures as that of dominance and control, "la place du roi." At the same time, however, the conspirators are forced to admit--despite themselves--that if they can use the tools of the new epistemology to conspire against the sovereign, the same tools can be used, in the same ways, against the conspirators themselves. This is the undeniable consequence of rationalism, an epistemology which, in the final analysis, victoriously affirms its ubiquitous presence while it underscores the ambiguous position of the aristocracy within it.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Mikhaleff, Anne Wensing
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9210917
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9210917

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