“Langage inconnu”: Montesquieu, Graffigny and the Writing of Exile

Dobie, Madeleine

The writer questions the process of literary canonization and reappraisal in relation to Fraņcoise de Graffigny's Lettres d'une Péruvienne. She notes that the reappraisal of de Graffigny's novel has involved comparison with texts by more illustrious male predecessors, such as Montesquieu's Lettres persanes. She questions whether the necessary process of canon revision should inevitably depend on the reception of texts as bearing determinate significations that can be compared and contrasted with those of other texts. She focuses on how both texts tie the emergence of a language that is described as unknown, new, or foreign to the attempt to write about enlightenment. She suggests that this self-reflexive, resistant language constitutes an obstacle to the comparisons established in literary critical discourses.



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Romanic Review

More About This Work

Academic Units
French and Romance Philology
Department of French and Romance Philology of Columbia University
Published Here
May 22, 2014