Turmoil: Instability and insecurity in the eighteenth-century Francophone text

BookTurmoil: Instability and insecurity in the eighteenth-century Francophone text

Turmoil: Instability and insecurity in the eighteenth-century Francophone text

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2022:05


May 9th, 2022

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What is turmoil? How may it be captured? What were its manifestations in the eighteenth century? Why does it feel so familiar, even urgent, nowadays?  This volume proposes a completely new ontology of turmoil through study of its incidence and impact in the eighteenth-century francophone context. The interdisciplinary essays in this bilingual volume provide multiple illustrations of eighteenth-century instability and insecurity, as well as subsequent adjustments to a post-turmoil new normal. Each instance illuminates human resilience and the mechanisms of post-turmoil elasticity and adaptation in Enlightenment, revolutionary and post-revolutionary writing by female authors Charrière and Monbart, in publications by male authors Beaumarchais, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Chamfort, Dupaty, Raynal, Sade and Voltaire, and also in writing by relatively unknown authors, journalists and critics, who capture the turmoil of the global francophone eighteenth-century world. The topics explored emerge as universal ones, familiar to a modern readership: textual and visual revisionism, symbolism within natural disasters, realignment of beliefs, instability of memory, repositioning of historical narratives, female insecurity, attacks on public figures, post-revolutionary resilience and the impact of exile. Through its unique identification of three key generative indicators for turmoil —phenomenon, paradigm shift, elasticity of adaptation— this volume’s contributors deliver a distinctive, rich and new ontology of turmoil.

Author Information

Síofra Pierse is Associate Professor in French and Head of SLCL at University College Dublin. She specialises in 18th-century French literature, is editor of The City in French Writing (UCD Press), co-editor of The Dark Side of Diderot (Peter Lang), author of Voltaire historiographer: Narrative Paradigms (Voltaire Foundation) and Voltaire: A Reference Guide (forthcoming). Emma M. Dunne completed her PhD in French under Síofra Pierse (supervisor) as Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar and Resident Scholar at UCD Humanities Institute, University College Dublin. Her PhD investigates concepts of happiness, identity, migration and exile within the writings of Dutch-Swiss francophone author and composer, Isabelle de Charrière.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of figures9
Preface: après le déluge11
Introduction: turmoil, instability, adaptation, elasticity in the eighteenth-century francophone text17
I. Intimations of insecurity37
Troubles, désordres, crises: une approche numérique des expressions de la tourmente au dix-huitième siècle39
The knife and the pen: the attentat of 175759
Political turmoil in Voltaire’s vision and revision of the Fronde79
II. Filtering natural disasters97
The Antilles, the natural history of hurricanes and earthquakes, the Seven Years War and global commerce through the lens of the abbé Raynal’s Histoire philosophique et politique des deux Indes99
(Ré)inventer le Vésuve, modéliser la catastrophe, vivre la tourmente: Dupaty en Italie méridionale à la veille de la Révolution117
Voltaire and the Lisbon disaster: from aftershocks to ataraxy135
III. Instability and memory157
Poétique de l’émotion populaire dans les Tableaux historiques de la Révolution française de Nicolas Chamfort159
Turmoil and corruption in Joséphine de Monbart’s Lettres tahitiennes173
Disorder and the dead in revolutionary Paris191
IV. Sade and female marginalisation211
Fictional turmoil: the bloodlust of women in Sadean libertine narratives213
L’insécurité du sexe féminin: de l’infanticide au féminicide chez Sade237
V. Resilience post turmoil255
Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: le solitaire engagé257
La résistance spirituelle dans la France des philosophes275
‘A moi! A un proscrit! A un malheureux fugitif!’: Isabelle de Charrière’s émigré-e-s amid the turmoil of exile297
Revolutionary upheaval and domestic turmoil in Beaumarchais’s unsung play La Mère coupable319
Notes on contributors331