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368 Pages | 10 black and white illustrations

9 x 6 inches

ISBN: 9781800856004

Bookseller Code (01)

Narrative, catastrophe and historicity in eighteenth-century French literature

Author Jessica Stacey

Voltaire Foundation in association with Liverpool University Press

Oxford University Studies in The Enlightenment

  • This book brings contemporary work on the catastrophic imaginary into dialogue with philosophies of historical time and the study of eighteenth-century medievalism, offering a fresh perspective on how and why communities retell past catastrophes, and imagine future ones.
  • Drawing on a wide variety of literary, historical and philosophical sources from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries, the book illuminates the pre- and remediation of catastrophes by showing how the same stories and motifs were reworked by writers over the course of the eighteenth-century.
  • Uncovering the multiple temporal regimes evidenced in the work of eighteenth-century French writers who responded to anxieties around temporal continuity and rupture, this work has the potential to deepen our understanding of our own present moment, characterised by the disruption of the modern regime of historicity and an uncertainty about our future trajectory.
  • This book shows how French eighteenth-century writers viewed their own history as a haunting past, instantiated in the dangerous but also attractive figures which menace to crowd out the present, and return it to a catastrophic Dark Age: barbarians, usurpers, lost heirs, prophets, ghosts and martyrs.
  • Offering an exciting new perspective on French literature and culture in the eighteenth century, this work shows how sources as diverse as utopian tableaux, prison memoirs, fake medieval texts and the Encyclopédie can be used to trace contested boundaries between catastrophes and crises, inevitabilities and open futures, prophesies and predictions, and fictions and histories.