Literature and Devotion in Early Modern France
Edited By Richard Maber and Joanna Barker
This volume offers a multidimensional exploration of the theme of time in early modern France: of time past, time present and time future, in literature and in life.
In poetry, the importance of past and future perspectives was studied by Maynard and La Fontaine. The dynamics of tragic drama were haunted by the past, driven by the urgency of the present and pervasively aware of the alternative futures that could be created, while in imaginative fiction there was a perennial fascination with possible future societies, Utopian or otherwise.
The awareness of transience and mortality gave urgency to the right ordering of life. The Church offered guidance to the pious for their days to be passed in disciplined devotion, while the moralists urged their worldly readers to redeem their misspent time and look to things eternal. At the end, the right ordering of death was both a social and a religious preoccupation.
The essays gathered here aim to stimulate an imaginative engagement with this important theme and open up avenues for future research.
The chapters in this volume have developed from a selection of papers presented at the thirty-ninth annual conference of the Society for Early Modern French Studies (formerly the Society for Seventeenth-Century French Studies) held at Wadham College, Oxford, from 5 to 7 September 2016. All the essays have been considerably expanded and peer-reviewed for publication. The editors would like to thank everyone involved for their help in preparing this collection, especially the past Chair of the Society, Michael Moriarty, who contributed the Introduction; the President, Noël Peacock, for his encouragement and advice; and all the contributors. Finally, it is a pleasure to acknowledge the support that we have received from the Society, which has generously enabled the volume’s publication. Joanna Barker Richard Maber
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