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Description - The Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi in Early Modern Europe by Richard Scholar

What is the je-ne-sais-quoi, if it is indeed something at all, and how 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 examines the expression's rise and fall as a noun and as a topic of philosophical and literary debate, its cluster of meanings, and the scattered traces of its 'pre-history'. Placing major writers 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 trace a series of first-person encounters with a certain something as difficult to explain as its effects are intense, and which can be expressed only by being expressed differently. He shows how the je-ne-sais-quoi comes to express that certain something in the early modern period, and suggests that it remains capable of doing so today.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780199274406
ISBN-10: 0199274401
Format: Hardback
(224mm x 146mm x 25mm)
Pages: 350
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 29-Sep-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Richard Scholar

Richard Scholar is a Fellow and Tutor in French, Oriel College, Oxford