The Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi in Early Modern Europe
Encounters with a Certain Something
By (author) Richard Scholar
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Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi in Early Modern Europe by Richard Scholar
Book DescriptionWhat is the je-ne-sais-quoi? How-if at all-can it be put into words? In addressing these questions, Richard Scholar offers the first full-length study of the je-ne-sais-quoi and its fortunes in early modern Europe. He describes the rise and fall of the expression as a noun and as a topic of debate, examines its cluster of meanings, and uncovers the scattered traces of its 'pre-history'. The je-ne-sais-quoi is often assumed to belong purely to the realm of the literary, but in the early modern period it serves to articulate problems of knowledge in natural philosophy, the passions, and culture, and for that reason it is approached here from an interdisciplinary perspective. Placing major figures of the period such as Montaigne, Shakespeare, Descartes, Corneille, and Pascal alongside some of their lesser-known contemporaries, Scholar argues that the je-ne-sais-quoi serves above all to capture first-person encounters with a 'certain something' that is as difficult to explain as its effects are intense. When early modern writers use the expression in this way, he suggests, they give literary form to an experience that twenty-first-century readers may recognize as something like their own.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199274406
(224mm x 146mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 29-Sep-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Richard Scholar
Fiction and the Frontiers of Knowledge in Europe, 1500-1800, Hardback (December 2010)
Features contributors who demonstrate the significant role that fiction plays in early modern European culture, not only in a variety of its literary genres, but also in its formation of philosophical ideas, political theories, and the law. This volume explores these uses of fiction in a series of interrelated case studies.
Divided Cities, Paperback (January 2006)» View all books by Richard Scholar
Addresses various contemporary issues, including impact of globalization and migration on the urban environment, the consequences of the 'war on terror' for those living in cities, the development paradigm being adopted by international institutions in the developing world, and more.
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Author Biography - Richard Scholar
Richard Scholar is a Fellow and Tutor in French, Oriel College, Oxford
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