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Forgetting DifferencesTragedy, Historiography, and the French Wars of Religion$
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Andrea Frisch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748694396

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694396.001.0001

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From Emotion to Affect

From Emotion to Affect

(p.141) Chapter 5 From Emotion to Affect
Forgetting Differences

Andrea Frisch

Edinburgh University Press

Examines the consolidation in French tragedy of the early seventeenth century of what Thomas Pavel has described as an “art of distancing” (“art de l'éloignement”) characteristic of French neo-classicism. The conciliatory posture encouraged by the exhortation to extinguish memories of the wars provoked a reorientation of French emotions about the national past, away from a Renaissance Humanist tendency to exploit pathos in the service of political action, and towards a neoclassical aesthetics and an absolutist politics for which emotion frequently functioned as an alternative to political action. By seeking to unify the French around a set of shared emotions, the imperative to forget the violently divisive differences of the period of the Wars of Religion paved the way for the thoroughgoing forgetting of difference that grounded the ideology of absolutism.

Keywords:   emotion, Jean de la Taille, Jean Racine, Pierre Corneille, René Rapin, Jean Vauquelin de la Fresnaye, tragic spectatorship

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