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Religion, Ethics, and History in the French Long Seventeenth Century - La Religion, la morale, et l’histoire à l’âge classique

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William Brooks and Rainer Zaiser

In June 2006 delegates from eight countries representing six French, US, and British-based learned societies met at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, for a conference on the French long seventeenth century entitled ‘Modernités/Modernities’. Twenty of the best papers on religion, ethics and history were selected for this volume, and they present new perspectives on topics as diverse as devotion and pornography, artifice and the pursuit of truth, Bruscambille and Pascal, historiography from the sixteenth century to Voltaire, and, of course, the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes.
En juin 2006 un colloque sur le thème de la modernité pendant l’âge classique a réuni à St Catherine’s College, Oxford des spécialistes venus de huit pays pour représenter six sociétés savantes dont quatre françaises, une américaine, et une britannique. Vingt communications choisies parmi les meilleures sont recueillies dans le présent volume, sur des sujets aussi divers que la dévotion et la pornographie, l’artifice et la recherche de la vérité, Bruscambille et Pascal, l’historiographie tant du seizième siècle que de Voltaire et, bien entendu, la Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes.

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From Bawdy to Devotional 7

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WILLIAM BROOKS AND RAINER ZAISER From Bawdy to Devotional Emerging from the exhilarating innovations of the Renaissance, blending into the reforming energies of the Enlightenment, the French long seventeenth century – l’âge classique – was riven by the tensions between those who were advocating, seeking, preaching, and consoli- dating the very perfection that others were questioning, criticising, and rejecting. In June 2006, over one hundred delegates from eight coun- tries met, at St Catherine’s College Oxford, for a conference hosted by the Society for Seventeenth-Century French Studies that united its own members with those of the Société d’Etude du XVIIe Siècle, the Centre Méridional de Rencontres sur le XVIIe Siècle, the Société d’Etude du XVIe Siècle, the Centre International de Rencontres sur le XVIIe Siècle, and the North American Society for Seventeenth- Century French Literature. The conference, entitled ‘Modernités/ Modernities’, focused on the two-hundred year period roughly from the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the eighteenth. Nearly one hundred papers were given. Twenty of the best, cov- ering religion, ethics, history, and language, were selected to form the present volume, while a further nineteen, covering theatre, fiction, and poetry, appear in a companion volume. In their different ways, all the great scientists and philosophers called into question old religious certainties, yet, as Georges Molinié makes clear in a tour de force of pithy observations and pointers to- wards further study, what marks out the modern is not so much...

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