This book analyzes the relationship between an emergent modern subjectivity in seventeenth-century French literature, particularly in dramatic works, and the contemporaneous evolution of the absolutist state. It shows how major writers of the Classical period (Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Lafayette) elaborate a new subject in and through their representations of the family, and argues that the family serves as the mediating locus of a patriarchal ideology of sexual and political containment. Professor Greenberg argues that this reflects the conflicting social, political and economic forces that were shifting European society away from the universe of the Renaissance and guiding it toward the "transparency" of Classical representation.
About the Author
Mitchell Greenberg is Goldwin Smith Professor of Romance Studies at Cornell University. He is the author of several books on seventeenth-century French literature and culture. Greenberg uses contemporary critical theories, particularly Freudian and post-Freudian approaches, in the interpretation of early modern texts.
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction; 1. L'Astrée and androgyny; 2. The grateful dead: Corneille's tragedy and the subject of history; 3. Passion play: Jeanne des Anges, devils, hysteria and the incorporation of the classical subject; 4. Rodogune: sons and lovers; 5. Molière's Tartuffe and the scandal of insight; 6. Racine's children; 7. 'Visions are seldom all they seem': La Princesse de Clèves and the end of Classical illusions; Notes; Index.