The Tragedy of Origins: Pierre Corneille and Historical Perspective

The Tragedy of Origins: Pierre Corneille and Historical Perspective

The Tragedy of Origins: Pierre Corneille and Historical Perspective

The Tragedy of Origins: Pierre Corneille and Historical Perspective

Excerpt

This book is about the relationship between tragedy and history in early modern France. It focuses on the work of Pierre Corneille, who was more insistent on the importance of this relationship than any of the other major early modern French playwrights. There are two familiar approaches to Corneille's relationship with history. Many students and scholars assume that any study of Corneille and history will provide an account of seventeenth-century French political and social life to show how such contemporary life shaped Corneille's work. This "contemporary history" is the major formative element studied by such influential critics as Georges Couton and Paul Bénichou and by the followers of Lucien Goldmann. For such critics the conflicts between the aristocracy and the parlementary class, on one hand, and the monarchy--an institution of fluctuating importance during this period--on the other, explain the conflicting values maintained by opposed characters in such plays as Le Cid, Horace, and . . .

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