Writings of Etienne Pasquier
2. Pasquier’s Self-Fashioning as the Ideal Public Servant
The theories of Stephen Greenblatt and Lisa Jardine1 about self-fashioning in the Early Modern period have been well known for some time now, but they can in some aspects serve as a framework for an approach to Etienne Pasquier’s construction of his career and his persona. He worked consciously and consistently to construct his image and his place in the hierarchy of the Parlement. This goal he pursued as parallel to his other one of instructing the monarchy and the public in how best to preserve traditional law and cultural/ethical values in the latter sixteenth century. Though contemporaries would never have formulated such a term as “self-fashioning,” still a modified version of Greenblatt’s and Jardine’s approach is applicable for exploring just what Pasquier and his peers in the Paris Parliament might have meant as an equivalent to our modern notion of advancement, realizing that the equally modern notion of the “self-made” professional is also anachronistic, when applied to the period. Advancement for contemporaries could in certain aspects come down to what Pasquier wishes for his son, Pierre, who has just received a military promotion. In a letter to Pierre he congratulates him on his good fortune, which will continue to allow him a place among “les gens de bien et d’honneur” ← 13 | 14 → (good and honorable people).2 In addition, Greenblatt points out that the sixteenth century was a period when the individual was particularly circumscribed by received codes of comportment, and that it was relatively unheard of to rise...
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