Academic journal article The Seventeenth Century

Le Gouvernement Présent, Ou éLoge De Son Eminence, Satyre, Ou la Miliade

Academic journal article The Seventeenth Century

Le Gouvernement Présent, Ou éLoge De Son Eminence, Satyre, Ou la Miliade

Article excerpt

Paul Scott (ed.), Le Gouvernement présent, ou éloge de son Eminence, satyre, ou La Miliade, MHRA Critical Texts, 14, London, Modern Humanities Research Association, 2010, pp. 208, pb. £12.99/$24.99, ISBN: 978-0-947623- 77-7.

However variable the literary merits of the anonymously published satirical poem La Miliade (which clocks in at an inconvenient 956 lines rather than the expected 1000) may be, it certainly packed a political punch, enough of a punch, in fact, to lead Cardinal Richelieu to imprison as many as five writers whom he suspected of being the work's author. In this impeccably researched new edition, editor Paul Scott shows exactly why this pamphlet should be taken seriously. Not only does it make an invaluable contribution to satirical literature of the period, presaging and inspiring the vast output of Mazarinades during the Fronde, but also it marks an important point in the history of censorship, revealing in the process considerable literary sophistication. Although the poem's purpose of removing Richelieu from office was never achieved, it came mightily close to doing so.

Scott's agreeably written introduction reads like a whodunnit as he considers possible authors of the piece, taking in along the way such candidates as Charles de Beys, author of L'Hôpital des fous, the Comte d'Ételan, who had a history of agitating against the Cardinal, Bruc de Montplaisir, a military man who had been a fervent supporter of the French in fighting against the Spanish during the Thirty Years War, Jacques de Favereau, who had also been known as a supporter of the Richelieu régime, and Bussy Pasquier, whose name was written at the end of one manuscript copy of the poem. …

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