Reversing the predominant critical interpretation of La Ceppède and the Théorèmes, this study claims that literary contexts and avatars act as a point of entry into devotion. The book reads La Ceppède from the inside out, asking principal question: How does the literary initiate an exploration of the theological? Focusing on the ways in which the Théorèmes transform literature into a potential instrument of salvation, the text looks at La Ceppède's adaptation of different Renaissance lyric types. Modulation of the formal and thematic traits of lyric subgenres such as the blason, the baiser, the pastoral and pastourelle, as well as the emblem allow La Ceppède to develop and exploit literature as a contemplative framework. The goals in taking this approach are to emphasize La Ceppède's originality in terms of representing the Christian body and spiritually erotic imagery. This methodology also highlights La Ceppède's use of lyric subgenre as a means of unifying the first and second volumes of the Théorèmes. In its final chapter, the book compares and contrasts La Ceppède's appropriation of lyric forms with that of other Renaissance poets such as Lazare de Selve, Jean de Sponde, and Marguerite de Navarre. The work concludes by arguing that the contribution of La Ceppède's text lies in the singularity of its narrative structure, its poetic mission, and its depiction of Christ's humanity. Literary structure becomes meditative structure, as lyric form becomes a vehicle toward redemption.
Essays in Early Modern Literature and La Fontaine in Honor of David Lee Rubin
Edited by Anne L. Birberick and Russell Ganim
In The Shape of Change, Anne L. Birberick and Russell Ganim bring together essays by fourteen established scholars who dedicate their studies to David Rubin as they explore the ways in which artistic endeavor shapes and is shaped by literary memory. The volume is divided into two sections. The first section, “Continuity and Discontinuity,” offers essays by Jody Enders, Timothy Reiss, Twyla Meding, Marie-Odile Sweetser, Robert Corum, Jr., and the editors themselves and considers the ways in which seventeenth-century authors draw upon generic conventions or diverse artistic media to create works that reflect the aesthetic and moral values of their time. The second section, entitled “La Fontaine,” focuses primarily on Jean de La Fontaine's masterpiece, Les Fables. Here the problem of imitation and innovation as it relates to genre, influence, and literary reputation is examined in essays by Jules Brody, Richard Danner, Judd Hubert, Catherine Grisé, Michael Vincent, Nicholas Cronk, and Ralph Albanese, Jr. The Shape of Change serves as a fine scholarly contribution to the studies of French seventeenth-century literature and La Fontaine. The essays are thoughtful as well as thought provoking and the volume’s critical diversity is nicely balanced by its thematic coherence. In its ability to stimulate new thinking, this collection of essays will be of interest to both students and scholars of early modern France.