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Evocations of Eloquence

Rhetoric, Literature and Religion in Early Modern France - Essays in Honour of Peter Bayley

Series:

Nicholas Hammond and Michael Moriarty

This collection of essays by leading scholars from France, Great Britain and North America is published in honour of Peter Bayley, former Drapers Professor of French at the University of Cambridge and a leading scholar of early modern France. The volume reflects his scholarly interest in the interface between religion, rhetoric and literature in the period 1500–1800. The first three sections of the book are concerned with the early modern period. The contributors consider subjects including the eloquence of oration from the pulpit, the relationship between religion, culture and belief, and the role of theatre and ceremony during the seventeenth century. They engage with individuals such as the theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, the dramatists Molière, Racine and Corneille, and the philosophers Bayle and Pascal. The volume concludes with a section that is concerned with critical influences and contexts from the sixteenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Throughout, the authors offer stimulating new perspectives on an age that never ceases to intrigue and fascinate.

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Nicholas Hammond and Michael Moriarty Introduction

Extract

Peter Bayley, Drapers Professor of French at Cambridge for a quarter of a century, has had an enormous inf luence on the study of early modern French literature and culture, through his research, his teaching, and his leadership of a major French department in the United Kingdom. His pioneering work on pulpit eloquence in the seventeenth century was a significant contribution to the rediscovery of rhetoric in the study of early modern literature, but his research has not been confined to the rhetorical field: religious writing more generally and memoirs have been of particular interest. His lecturing has covered a wide field of French literature from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth, including all the major texts of seventeenth-century literature: he thus had a great inf luence on generations of Cambridge undergraduates, who will not forget the lectures’ combina- tion of deep engagement with the subject and arresting and witty delivery. The present volume, edited by two Cambridge colleagues (one a former pupil), aims to mark his retirement in appropriate fashion. It brings together many leading scholars of early modern French literature, from France and the United States as well as Britain. The contributions all relate in some way to the early modern period (1500–1800), though one deals with nineteenth-century responses to a seventeenth-century text. The interface between religion and literature is the subject of several of the contributions; others deal specifically with eloquence, especially the eloquence of the pulpit. But the broad range of subjects in this volume...

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