This book analyses the relation between the modern subject who emerges in seventeenth-century French literature (especially drama) and the emergence of the first modern absolutist state.
This 1992 book analyses the relation 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. Most importantly, it asks why the theatre became the privileged form of representation in this state, and why this theatre concentrates almost exclusively on family conflict. Professor Greenberg argues that the narrative of oedipal sexuality and subjugation central to this new literary canon reflected the conflicting social, political and economic forces that were shifting European society away from the universe of the Renaissance and guiding it towards the 'transparency' of Classical representation.
Table of Contents
1. L'Astree 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
4. Rodogune: Sons and Lovers
5. Moliere's Tartuffe and the scandal of insight
6. Racine's children
7. 'Visions are seldom what they seem': La
Princesse de Cleves and the end of classical