Madame de Sévigné et Michel De Montaigne. L’Écriture Intime À La Lettre et À L’Essai

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Shows how Montaigne, in his Essays and Travel Journal, and Madame de Sévigné in her Correspondence live the tension between two contradictory and complementary inclinations of human nature: on the one hand, opening towards another, communication with a loved one, and, on the other hand, withdrawal, reflection, and distress.


“Such an undertaking illustrates with great skill how a meaningful contribution to discussions concerning the collective good, individualism, but also a number of fundamental aspects of literary history, can be achieved by carefully listening to those long lost voices still resonating in the midst of our own. That is to say that this study pays attention to the ways in which such figures paid attention to their own particular and private bodies and minds, or, rather, to their bodies and souls.” - Prof. Angela Cozea, University of Toronto

“Sanda Badescu uses Foucault’s concept of the care of the self as a counter-argument to narcissism of which both authors have been accused. Understanding the sufferings of the body, in parallel with the experience of melancholy, becomes an integral part of the path towards self-knowledge. . . . Through the work of Klibansky, Panofsky and Saxl, Sanda Badescu shows how melancholia is translated into an aesthetic experience, and how knowing becomes replaced with feeling.”
“However, it is precisely because Montaigne’s and Sévigné’s experiences of loss are not identical—Montaigne’s relationship to his deceased friend is connected to the experience of nostalgia, whereas Sévigné’s relationship to her living daughter is often fraught with disagreements. Writing becomes both a solution and a constant reminder that it can only adequately bridge the relation to the other, and to suffering itself. Through careful textual analysis, Sanda Badescu weaves together Montaigne’s and Sévigné’s texts to offer fresh insights into these fundamental paradoxes.” – Prof. Chris Roulston, University of Western Ontario

“This is an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable study. It will be of interest not only to scholars of Renaissance and Early Modern French literature, as well as specialists of contemporary literary theory, but also to anyone with an interest in the history of medicine and its cultural imprint on the imagination of society at large.” - Prof. Constance Cartmill, University of Manitoba

Table of Contents

1. De l'essai et de la lettre
2. De l'amour
3. Des maladies

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