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Managing Time

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.


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Chapter 6: Entre prophétie et prospective : Michel de Pure,de La Pretieuse (1656–1658) à Épigone, histoire dusiècle futur (1659) (Lise Leibacher-Ouvrard)


Lise Leibacher-Ouvrard 6 Entre prophétie et prospective : Michel de Pure, de La Pretieuse (1656–1658) à Épigone, histoire du siècle futur (1659) Abstract Michel de Pure (1620–1680) has long remained known, at best, as an assiduous corre- spondent of the Corneille brothers, more dubiously as one of the many writers ridiculed by Boileau. Quite unfairly in de Pure’s case, as was demonstrated unequivocally during the colloquium devoted to this talented and innovative polygraph in 2015. Among the multiple facets of Michel de Pure’s unquestionable ‘modernity’ – a French neologism of his own making – his novels (among other writings) offer a sustained and fascinated yet anxiety-ridden reflection on the concept of Time, of future times in particular, a position emblematic of a period that is itself marked by an ambiguous shift from prophetic vision to prospective planning. Pendant longtemps, Michel de Pure (1620–1680) est resté connu, au mieux comme le correspondant assidu des frères Corneille, au pire comme l’un des auteurs massacrés par Boileau. Très injustement d’ailleurs, comme l’a aisé- ment démontré le colloque que Myriam Dufour-Maître a consacré pour la première fois en 2015 à ce polygraphe de talent, abbé de son état mais qui a joué, sa vie durant, le jeu de la participation multiple à des espaces savants et mondains différents. C’est l’ambiguïté de sa « modernité » que j’avais analysé à cette occasion, néologisme que Michel de Pure est sans doute le premier à avoir utilisé en français bien qu’il...

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