Franklin

Mercury and the humanists: Lying in the "Nouvelles Recreations et Joyeux Devis" and the "Heptameron" [electronic resource].

Author/Creator:
Thompson, Emily E.
Format/Description:
Book
302 p.
Subjects:
Romance literature.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Summary:
In most collections of sixteenth-century nouvelles, the narrator claims that the tales he/she tells are "true" and that he/she is worthy of the reader's trust. This conventional narrative presentation ironically precedes stories that frequently illustrate dishonest, glib trickster characters. In Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron and Bonaventure Des Periers' Nouvelles Recreations et Joyeux Devis the exploration of this tension assumes central thematic and narrative importance. For the nouvelle, neither history nor poetry, a amalgam of older narrative traditions claiming to represent contemporary reality, the question of truth determines its very function. Placed in the philosophical, sociological, and linguistic context of a history of the lie, their fiction appears to intentionally blur the distinctions between truth and lies, undermining the credibility of the self-declared truthful narrators while justifying the deceptions of many of the mendacious characters. The inconsistent and contradictory declarations of the narrative voice in these collections suggest a new relationship with the narratee where both narrator and narratee collaborate in the interpretation of the fiction. In the second and third chapters, I examine the profiles and motivations of individual diegetic liars and victims, first in Des Periers' collection, then in Marguerite's. Although the immediate concerns of the two conteurs, influenced by their opposing sexual and social identities, are quite different, both conteurs manifest a surprising indulgence towards linguistic deception practised by their characters. In the final chapter, I argue that this tolerance for duplicity is neither religiously nor socially subversive, but instead echoes a less provocatively articulated Humanist agenda that also valued the creativity of the human spirit. Like their contempories, Marguerite and Des Periers admire the ability of the fatally flawed human logos to successfully transforming a threatening multiplicity into an ordered society. Mercury, god of eloquence, lying and commerce proves an ideal representation for the practicality, the relativism, and the hope that exist in the middle ground between truth and lying that Marguerite and Des Periers create with, and in, their prose fiction.
Notes:
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 57-11, Section: A, page: 4769.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Pennsylvania, 1996.
Local notes:
School code: 0175.
Contributor:
University of Pennsylvania.
Contained In:
Dissertation Abstracts International 57-11A.
ISBN:
9780591205763
Access Restriction:
Restricted for use by site license.
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