Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Mademoiselle De Joncoux: Polemique Janseniste a la Veille De la Bulle Unigenitus

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Mademoiselle De Joncoux: Polemique Janseniste a la Veille De la Bulle Unigenitus

Article excerpt

Mademoiselle de Joncoux: Polemique Janseniste a la veille de la bulle Unigenitus. By F. Ellen Weaver. (Paris: Les Editions du Cerf. 2002. Pp. 359. euro25 paperback.)

This scholarly biography explores the life and work of an author whose contributions were so veiled in obscurity that she was known to her friends as "l'invisible." She formed a part of the network of friends of the monastery of Port-Royal and supporters of the Jansenist cause who kept alive the spirit of protest in the last decades of the seventeenth century when the themes of personal resistance to authority in the name of conscience would ultimately fester into the openly political anti-authoritarian Jansenism of the eighteenth century.

Extensive exploration of the notarial archives reveals the social background of Mlle de Joncoux rooted in the world of the commis to the great bureaucrats serving Louis XIV The social historian will be particularly interested in the various efforts the family undertook to extend their financial base through investments in real estate, venal offices, and advantageous marriages. For Mlle de Joncoux, the ambitious dowry extracted by her mother's family, combined with the early death of her father, resulted in financial difficulties which precluded an appropriate dowry and condemned her to a spinsterhood which found intellectual outlet, group support, and affective identification with the group of admirers of Port-Royal des Champs.

Instead of marriage, Mlle de Joncoux took up the role of editor, translator, compiler, and anonymous author in the clandestine guerrilla war of pamphlets and fascicules which the exiles around Quesnel in Holland issued in a steady stream to contest every royal and ecclesiastical action that required obedience. …

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