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Conclusion: Vestiges of Gens de lettres, Legacies of the Enlightenment

"Contre l'illusion de l'intellectuel sans attachés ni racines..." 1


In 2001, when the Comédie Française—still the official public theater of France—reprised Molière's much-loved classic, "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," audiences and critics found particularly comic Jean-Pierre Michaël's performance of the maître de philosophie. His white shirt open to the chest and tousled hair flopping across his forehead clearly referred to the contemporary "philosopher" Bernard-Henri Lévy. This bit of parody enriched a scene (II.iv) already celebrated in French literature for its mockery of intellectual pretense by highlighting the changes in the meaning of "philosophe" from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first.
archive Molière,
Lévy's self-fashioning as a philosopher in his own writings invokes the Enlightenment sense of the term, implying the antithesis of two caricatures: the philosophy teacher in the play, who must curtail his erudition to suit his patron's ignorance, and the modern academic philosopher, who must curtail his free thought and political engagement to suit the institutional imperatives of his profession. 2 Furthermore, this scene recalls a long-standing, now sterile debate within Molière scholarship over the playwright's own status as an intellectual: Should it be read as that of a philosopher expressing moral ideas or that of a simple entertainer pleasing powerful patrons and a paying public. 3


This book has attempted to surpass the limited terms of those debates, the false oppositions of market or patronage, belles lettres or philosophie and most of all, autonomous intellectuals speaking to the public or authors restricting their self-expression to gain entry into official institutions and elite social networks. Rather than making an argument for or against eighteenth-century playwrights as intellectuals, this book shows that the very term is anachronistic for the eighteenth century. Rather than making an argument for or against the political relevance of eighteenth-century theater, this book used theater as an institutional context to understand writers' self-presentations in their encounters with constituted authorities and to reach an enriched understanding of the relationship among Old Regime institutions, Enlightenment ideas, and Revolutionary changes with respect to gens de lettres, intellectuals, and personal identity.

1. Gens de Lettres, the Enlightenment, and the Revolution: Distinct Trajectories


Histories of writers in eighteenth-century France usually present two trajectories as intertwined: on the one hand, the rise of writers to a position of autonomy to represent the advent of civil society and, on the other, the decline of great protectors to symbolize the weakening of court culture and the Old Regime state. Moreover, these twin trajectories are seen as supporting a larger pair of structural changes in modern French and European history more broadly—the success of the Enlightenment as an intellectual movement, and the dissolution and eventual collapse of Old Regime structures of political power and social status. Both of these processes are considered to have come to fruition with the Revolution. This narrative of the eighteenth century, however, takes as its perspective only the modern period, from the mid-1700s to the present. If, as this book has proposed, we compare writers' relations to state and society in the age of the Enlightenment with earlier centuries, we see a different trajectory and divergent forces of causality.

If we compare the relationships forged between the playwrights and the authorities governing the public theater in the eighteenth century studied in this book and those between Corneille, Racine, or Molière and their protectors of the seventeenth century, we see not only significant aesthetic and stylistic changes in their writings but also a considerable weakening of the power such protectors could exert on or for writers through literary institutions. When Pierre Corneille forged a relationship with Richelieu, or Racine with Colbert, or Molière with Louis XIV, they knew that these protectors could authorize their works for performance, legitimize their own standing as writers, deliver offices and sinecures, and, moreover, control institutions such as the Académie Française. 4 By contrast, when Beaumarchais cultivated the Duke de Duras in the 1770s or the Baron de Breteuil in the 1780s, he found to his chagrin that these ministers could not influence either the court or the institution of the Comédie. For writers of lesser stature, this diminution of what Jouhaud defines as "power" over the institutions of literary life represented not an opportunity for self-expression to the public but the opposite, a curtailing of opportunities to achieve legitimacy as gens de lettres.


The diminution of the court's power, the dissipation of a culture of protection and clientelism, and the re-orientation of the writer towards the commercial marketplace should not then be understood as the consequence of struggles by writers for personal liberty from existing structures. Instead, we have seen that the transformation of those structures from within—and their eventual collapse—left aspiring writers bewildered and searching for new identities, values, and practices through which they could achieve legitimacy. Thus, the triumph of Enlightenment ideals, the increasing autonomy of writers, and the decline and collapse of Old Regime patronage were in effect three separate developments, and we need not presume that the first two were accomplished at the expense of the third.

The Revolution brought for writers not emancipation but, in effect, the end of an institutionally-defined community (based on hierarchy and deference) and fixed standards of personal comportment (based on civility, disinterest, and self-restraint). Many writers had experienced that community as a series of dominations reproduced through the exercise of symbolic violence, and had found that those standards of behavior had been impossible for an established outsider to fulfill, yet this does not mean that literary life became more egalitarian, rational, or harmonious, or that its members attained greater stature, autonomy, or independence. Instead of the impossible ideals of honnêteté, writers became defined according to an equally impossible set of norms: autonomy and sincerity, in the form of the "patriot." Thus the Revolution did not signal in literary life the triumph of writers, of genius, or of civil society, but merely the devaluation of norms, hierarchies, and practices away from the court culture we have described as honnêteté. Yet these norms were not abandoned but were instead synthesized with the culture of honneur into a new form of patriotism. Since this latter culture emphasized claims of personal autonomy, sincerity, and virtue over claims of self-restraint and civility, the historiographical tendency has been to equate the figure of the honnête homme with servility and subservience (and often femininity) and to equate that of the patriot with self-assertion and autonomy (and often masculinity). Moreover, the former have been equated with "Old Regime" elites and the latter with the "new men" of the Revolution and modern society.

Studies as varied as Martin Warnke's on the court artist, Lucien Febvre's on patriotism, and most recently William Reddy's on the professional identities of nineteenth-century intellectual workers have shown that these associations were very much revolutionary and post-revolutionary constructions. This patriotic ideal appears incompatible with early modern civility, self-restraint, and honnêteté only in the aftermath of "patriotic" revolutionary rhetorical attacks on the aristocracy and court culture; of the redefinition during the Restoration and July Monarchy of professional identities for intellectual workers in journalism, civil service and the law as "men of honor"; and of the re-appropriation by the French military officer elite of the ideal of honneur et patrie after the Dreyfus affair and then the Great War. 5

We have seen how closely intertwined these ideals in fact were in the self-conceptions and self-representations of gens de lettres in the age of the Enlightenment, due to the continuities from classical court culture to commercial public culture embodied in literary institutions such as the Comédie Française. As a result, we have seen how gradual the transition was from early modern to modern or, more to the point, how much continuity there was in literary life from the "first literary field" of the mid-seventeenth-century to the "bourgeois public sphere" or "autonomous literary field" of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Thus, we have encountered here eighteenth-century writers in terms other than the long-standing commonplace of writers as embodiments of reason and wit who achieved personal liberty and public acclaim at the expense of royal authority. Instead of conflicting with or subverting pre-revolutionary norms and hierarchies and thus pushing towards the Revolution, eighteenth-century writers (as seen in this book) became frustrated that their relations with elites were becoming increasingly mediated, so it became more difficult to gain access to and legitimacy within elite sociability.

With respect to the Revolution, the book has questioned a similarly well established narrative claiming that the existence of court institutions, practices, values, and hierarchies in literary life prior to 1789 constrained writers from achieving full liberty, and that these constraints were abolished by 1791, signaling the end of repression and the advent of modern liberty. With the fall of the Old Regime, we have seen, the Revolution created opportunities for new men, such as Chénier, for new women, such as Gouges, and, above all, for new identities, such as the patriot playwright, to come to the fore. However, the status and identity of writers in public life became even more unfixed and ambiguous in the 1790s than it had been in the 1600s. Rather than an abrupt shift to modernity, we would do better to think of this moment as the most visible moment of a long-term, often conflictual and neither linear nor progressive evolution in the French literary field. In that history of French gens de lettres, the eighteenth century had been a period of tension, between court culture and elite patronage on the one hand and print culture and the literary marketplace one the other. This tension, this book has shown, provided writers with much latitude to fashion their public identities through creative combinations of protection and institutional affiliation, commercial appeal, and social and aesthetic ideology by allowing them to convert these different forms of capital. The energetic, creative, and highly effective efforts of Old Regime and early Revolutionary writers to fashion themselves as honnêtes hommes or patriots—based on early modern elite values, reproduced through such early modern institutions as the Comédie Française—would henceforth require new forms of capital, to be converted differently, in different venues, based on different values, and resulting in different identities.

This argument implies not only a new interpretation in the evolution of the public sphere but an entirely new approach to the role of literature in mediating between state and civil society, one that can account not only for changes in status as measured by law, money, or property but also for the constant production and revision of personal identities. No longer a progressive narrative moving from an oppressive system of courtly patronage to a free market based on individual liberty, this new history would present writers as produced by rather than autonomous from state institutions and the market. This book presents a chapter in that new history by focusing on neither the lives nor works of the writers but instead on the institutional culture of the Comédie Française. Through this window into Enlightenment intellectual life, we have seen the tensions between a court culture of self-restrained direct encounters and the public, commercial arenas of the contested playhouse and of print.

This new history is evident in recent work on theater and theatricality in eighteenth-century culture. 6 It has been even more evident in recent work on seventeenth-century scientists, scholars, and belletrists, which has demonstrated how official institutions, such as academies, conferred legitimacy only on those who respected their internal hierarchies and demonstrated civility and deference. These writers regarded such official institutions not as obstacles to their personal freedom of expression but as bodies that made public speech possible by establishing rules for public debate wherein differences in interpretation could be resolved with civility. 7 Similarly, work on English Renaissance belletrists has found that literary academies and court theaters performed "a variety of regulatory ... practices," including censorship, that had a "legitimating effect" on some texts and authors while denying legitimacy to others. 8 And as noted, Viala, Jouhaud, and others have taken an institutional approach to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France, studying literary academies as institutions that mediated among aspiring writers, socially prominent protectors, politically powerful authorities, and commercial audiences. 9

2. "Intellectuals" between "Engagement" and "Duplicity": Confronting the Double Bind


These issues of writers' status in relation to state power and civil society have become important in the study of early modern gens de lettres because they quite evidently speak to contemporary concerns about the changing institutional, legal, and cultural framework for intellectual life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Yet the comparison of early modern gens de lettres to modern intellectuals has probably been overdrawn in the historiography of modern France, which posits intellectuals as the vanguard in a long-term trajectory in French society towards greater individual "liberty" and a more "secular" morality. The standard argument is that lay writers in late nineteenth- and early-twentieth century France took on the role of the Catholic clergy as a "moral elite." However, unlike the clergy, who were defined by their collective identity and institutional affiliation, intellectuals were identified by their personal renown, or fame, achieved through scholarly or literary work, and by their personal autonomy, or liberty, achieved by remaining distant from existing institutions. In consequence, intellectuals have come to be understood as "free" both in the sense of universal (not tied to any existing intellectual or social position in society) and also in the sense of uninhibited, at liberty to intervene with credibility in pressing moral or political debates. Thus, as well-known entities and as individuals, intellectuals are uniquely positioned to articulate "transcendental values." 10

This definition, of personal liberty from all social constraints, institutional and cultural, has been appropriated and repeated in contemporary discussions of the role of the intellectual as engaged, speaking truth to power from without. 11 Underlying this tendency to view writers as incarnations of liberty from state power is the experience of twentieth-century state oppression of individuals, especially writers, and of resistance to that oppression by autonomous intellectuals. This problem in the present, usually described through the rubrics of totalitarianism and dissidence, has encouraged a view of all encounters between writers and constituted authority as antithetical, each struggling against the other timelessly (or at least since the eighteenth century). 12

Though well intentioned as an appeal to writers to address pressing social and political issues, this definition is not only historically misguided but also, I would argue, increasingly irrelevant to the present, because it reduces our understanding of intellectuals and society to a caricature and prevents any significant analysis of the role of literature, the process of publicity, or the power of institutions. A particularly obtuse reductio ad absurdum of this definition is evident in the contemporary discussion of the decline of "public intellectuals" in America, which has seen several authors steadfastly refuse to address the crisis of the mainstream media or the role of political institutions and even more steadfastly refuse to define either "public" or "intellectual" in terms other than merely celebrity. 13

In this conventional historical narrative, the emergence of this type of intellectual occurs in the Enlightenment when "Voltaire ... the prototype of the intellectual" achieved both renown and autonomy, and consequently was able to challenge the hierarchies and norms of the Old Regime. Though scholarship on the French eighteenth century has by and large (though not entirely) dispensed with this fairy tale, 14 it has continued to inform how contemporaries define and assess intellectuals. Indeed, this commonplace defies not only the findings of current eighteenth-century scholarship but also those of nineteenth-century scholars, notably Christophe Charle. Charle shows that not only is the figure of the engaged "intellectual" (and, moreover, "intellectuals" in plural) a later nineteenth-century construct but that, empirically, those who did engage as dissidents in the political debates of the 1890s were generally not autonomous "men of letters" but academics, bureaucrats, and technicians, those whose social identity was established primarily through institutional affiliations rather than the literary marketplace. Émile Zola, the prototype of the modern intellectual, was in fact exceptional for a Dreyfusard intellectual; indeed, the autonomy that he enjoyed, frequently taken as the hallmark of the modern intellectual, did not exist for most writers and least of all for those politically engaged from the left.

An important reason that Charle's revision—and the important work on the social history of eighteenth century writers—has had such resonance for contemporary understandings of the French intellectual is the lack of an alternative narrative for discussing writers in the past and an alternative methodology for analyzing them in the present. Conceptualizing such an alternative approach has been one of the central contributions of Pierre Bourdieu. Though his recent passing occasioned an outpouring of obituaries that represented him as the last of the "engaged intellectuals" in the tradition of Zola and Sartre, Bourdieu himself repeatedly refuted this description, particularly the idea of any individual possessing universal knowledge or transcendent moral authority. 15 Instead, he argued that intellectuals are defined not by their autonomy as individuals but by the distinctly ambiguous position they occupy in society, on the one hand endowed with a great deal of prestige (or "cultural capital"), and on the other subject to much more direct "dominations" than ordinary individuals. That is, their participation in prominent institutions of public life—universities, academies, the media—did not follow from but instead made possible their "consecration" as intellectuals. Once so consecrated, however, they face an impossible dilemma: as intellectuals, they are expected to criticize, in "universal" terms, established norms and hierarchies (that is, to be "heretics") within the very church (that is, the ensemble of norms and hierarchies) in which they occupy positions not at but near the top. To renounce that position—to adhere fully to one's own critiques of the institution one inhabits—would be to cease to be an intellectual. By the same token, to silence oneself from speaking heresy would similarly derogate one's legitimacy as an intellectual.

Bourdieu understood that this situation must not be understood as hypocrisy but instead is the only possible form of authenticity in the face of a difficult moral challenge. To be aware of one's own "specific interests" and the stakes of the daily competition into which one enters as a professional—"the often intangible ... markers of recognition" in pursuit of which one necessarily conforms one's speech and behavior to established norms—is not to abandon the "responsibility" of an intellectual, but instead to engage full-on with the rather tragic dilemma of the modern intellectual. The moral consequence, then, is to recognize that "equivocation" or "duplicity" are not the antithesis of the intellectual but his or her essence; to expect or claim that intellectuals incarnate "truth" is to abandon any hope that intellectuals, or intellect, clan play a role in society. 16

As historians (or sociologists or literary critics) of intellectuals, we therefore not only commit empirical errors, we abandon our own intellectual commitments (our belief in the utility and authority of intelligence, of the power of literature) if we fail to approach intellectuals in their institutional and rhetorical context. To incorporate into intellectual history the problems of writers' personal status and identity and the role of institutions in the production, publication, and appropriation of knowledge is not to reduce writers to interest-maximizing automata or their ideas to petty expressions of self-interest. Rather it is to recognize the true nature of the political engagement of gens de lettres in the past and in the present, to grant, in the words of Bourdieu, "at least the possibility of a real liberty" to writers by not restricting them to the double bind of the consecrated heretic. It is also to provide a basis for moral action by intellectuals within their own field, an awareness of the ever-present temptation to believe oneself to be a free and transcendent individual, to abandon one's intelligence by ceasing to analyze one's own position, to cede to the culture of celebrity.

3. Narrative and Modern Subjectivity: The Power of Self-Fashioning


A central insight into the study of individual identity common to the theoretical influences on which this book has drawn—notably Elias, Bourdieu, and Greenblatt—is that, contrary to a central principle of the Enlightenment, self-knowledge cannot be achieved by a simple contemplation of the self. Nor do categories, such as wealth, education level, profession, or institutional affiliation adequately represent an individual's identity. For, as the dense body of scholarship on identity in the early modern and modern periods has shown, the self is so highly mediated by the very process of representing itself that it becomes unknowable to its own author, let alone a historian, biographer, or literary critic.

Thus, neither autobiography nor prosopography can account for the disjuncture between an individual's own sense of self and the multiple social identities ascribed to him or her. 17 Greenblatt and others working in the scholarship of early modern life writing offer as a potential solution the move of reading self-representations in given rhetorical contexts as preceding rather than following from the formation of a self-conception; however, this approach does not address the question of how much awareness or control an individual has of their own participation in that process. For Bourdieu, the solution is to account for how individuals, while seeking legitimacy in a field, internalize the often negative representations of themselves ascribed by that field, thereby participating unwittingly in their own domination. It has often been noted that Bourdieu offers an acute analysis of this problem but no solution for how to escape it, or even the possibility that individuals try to do so. Finally, Elias's solution is to be found by measuring an individual's "engagement" in the self-image they have put forth in a given social encounter and the "distance" they can achieve from that self-image when, inevitably, social experience contradicts it and requires a new self-presentation.



What can we conclude, then, from this study of eighteenth-century literary life, about self-representation, self-conception, and power? Above all, we can concur with Bourdieu's basic principle that a field is structured by and structures hierarchies, which presume a series of ever subtler dominations; however, the dominations to which the writers in this book were subject were neither inevitable nor, as we have seen repeatedly, predictable. Aspiring writers did seek to escape domination, because they continued, even in the face of indifference, rejection, humiliation, and physical violence against them to pursue legitimacy by writing and proposing new plays; to seek out protectors, brokers, and allies to circumvent obstacles to performance; to attempt to influence the response to their work; and establish and maintain control over the monetary and other capital their work generated. Moreover, these aspirants continued, with impressive tenacity, to represent themselves as worthy of respect, as autonomous and potent. At the same time, they clearly did not act with what might be considered modern liberty, nor did they actively seek to transgress or even challenge existing values and hierarchies. Their narratives repeatedly represented their own comportment, motivations, and goals as consistent with established norms and forms of sociability.

Thus, they can be understood no more as outsiders seeking to effect change than as duplicitous insiders reproducing, wittingly or unwittingly, structures of social domination. This book suggests instead that their efforts at, and even obsessions with, self-representations that insisted on both personal autonomy and social civility were strategic (though not instrumental) attempts to achieve a psychological equilibrium in a context of rapid and incomprehensible institutional change. On the one hand, these writers sought to uphold a configuration of institutions, values, and hierarchies in which they believed, as evidenced in the energy they expended trying to become and remain Comédie Française playwrights. On the other, they sought to avoid the ignominy and domination with which they understood themselves to be menaced through their participation in that configuration, as evidenced in the energy they expended seeking redress and reform.

By representing themselves based on variations of existing tropes such as the poète crotté, the honnête homme, or the patriote, they sought both to pay the necessary price of entry into a restricted community—that is, to signal their acceptance of that community's established norms and hierarchies—and at the same time to attain more credibility and prominence within that community than they knew a newcomer should expect. They told stories about their own engagement in the "micro-physics of patronage" that characterized early modern cultural institutions out of neither duplicity nor complicity; they claimed to be legitimate gens de letters out of neither unrealistic naiveté nor instrumental self-interest. 18 Rather, they sought to escape the double bind of structural power and personal self-expression, to reconcile the growing authority of the Old Regime and Revolutionary states with the growing Enlightenment expectation that the individual should be able to control and be responsible for his or her own destiny.

To be and simultaneously not to be a product of the official institutions of the age is the position in which every self-aware person, and certainly every intellectual, has found him or herself from the eighteenth century to the present. The solution to this double bind in the eighteenth century, as today, lies in the ability to tell stories that account simultaneously for both conditions, being both inside and outside. Those who possess or obtain the intellectual and social resources to perform this cognitive sleight of hand—a combination of emotional self-control, mastery of etiquette, facility with language, outlets for public self-representation, and external assistance—enjoy what Reddy has called "emotional liberty" and has argued to be the essence of both power and autonomy in the modern world. 19

In that sense, the telling of stories that make meaningful reference to other stories (the simplest definition of literature) and the ability to act out those stories (the simplest definition of theater) are the essence of modern subjectivity, and thus, of its consequences for personhood, such as private (including literary) property, personal credibility or legitimacy, individual liberty (such as that of a writer to express him or herself), and a degree of political power (such as citizenship rights). Like all modern subjects, writers and intellectuals have had to and continue to negotiate that double bind. And only with the passing of time and the accumulation of a collective awareness of those efforts (that is, historiography) do we develop a greater degree of self-awareness about this process, a greater degree of Enlightenment.


Note 1: Pierre Bourdieu, Questions de sociologie (Paris: Éditions de minuit, 1980), 70: "Against the illusion of the unattached, deracinated intellectual..."  Back.

Note 2: Lévy, Adventures on the Freedom Road: The French Intellectuals in the 20th Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), 131-138; Lévy, Éloge des intellectuels (Paris: Grasset, 1987).  Back.

Note 3: Ribard, "Philosophe ou écrivain"; on the debate over Molière as actor or thinker, see Norman, Public Mirror.  Back.

Note 4: Viala, Racine: La stratégie du caméléon (Paris: Seghers, 1990); Caldicott, Carrière de Molière; Jouhaud, Pouvoirs, 292-307.  Back.

Note 5: Warnke, Court Artist, 244-259; Lucien Febvre, Honneur et patrie (Paris: Perrin, 1996), which is the text of his Collège de France lectures from 1945-1946; Reddy, Invisible Code. The persistence of honor as a "malleable" concept not limited to "masculine violence" that was transformed rather than replaced with more civil ideals of conflict is also demonstrated in Thomas W. Gallant, "Honor, Masculinity and Ritual Knife Fighting in Nineteenth-Century Greece," American Historical Review 105:2 (2000): 359-382. Likewise, Eugen Weber, "The Ups and Downs of Honor," American Scholar 68:1 (1999): 79-92, argues that honor should be understood as a code not of aggression but of "decency." On the feminization of civility in twentieth-century Enlightenment scholarship, see the provocative if tendentious comments in Goodman, Republic of Letters, 53-89.  Back.

Note 6: Ravel, Contested Parterre; Johnson, Listening in Paris; Chartier, "From Court Festivity to City Spectators"; Peters, Theatre of the Book. Back.

Note 7:Goldgar, Impolite Learning; Biagioli, Galileo,; Biagioli, "Le Prince et les savant"; Shapin, A Social History of Truth.  Back.

Note 8:Richard Burt, "(Un)Censoring in Detail: The Fetish of Censorship in the Early Modern Past and the Postmodern Present," in Censorship and Silencing: Practices of Cultural Regulation, ed. Robert Post (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 1998), 17-42. See also Burt, Licensed by Authority: Ben Jonson and the Discourses of Censorship (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993); Debora Shuger, "Civility and Censorship in Early Modern England," in Censorship and Silencing, 89-110; Annabel Patterson, Censorship and Interpretation: The Conditions of Reading and Writing in Early Modern England (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984).  Back.

Note 9: Jouhaud, "Power and Literature: The Terms of Exchange, 1624-1642," in The Administration of Aesthetics: Censorship, Criticism and the Public Sphere, ed. Richard Burt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), 34-82; Jouhaud, "Histoire et histoire littéraire."  Back.

Note 10: This view is both summarized and, paradoxically, reproduced by Andre J. Belanger, The Ethics of Catholicism and the Consecration of the Intellectual (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997), 1-7.  Back.

Note 11: Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual (New York: Pantheon, 1994), xiii-xviii and passim.  Back.

Note 12: Lloyd Kramer, "Habermas, Foucault and the Legacy of Enlightenment Intellectuals," in Intellectuals and Public Life, eds. Leon Fink et al. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), 29-50; Lewis Coser, Men of Ideas (New York: Free Press, 1965), 6-8, 83-89. For more historically sensitive essays on intellectuals in modern France, see Jeremy Jennings, "Of treason, blindness and silence: Dilemmas of the intellectual in modern France," in Intellectuals in Politics: From the Dreyfus Affair to Salmon Rushdie, eds. Jennings and Anthony Kemp-Welch (New York: Routledge, 1997), 65-88; and Paul M. Cohen, Freedom's Moment: An Essay on the French Idea of Liberty from Rousseau to Foucault (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 139-182.  Back.

Note 13: This problem is evident in books that range from the elegiac, such as Russell Jacoby, The Last Intellectuals (New York: Basic Books, 1987) to the methodological travesty of Richard Posner, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002). By refusing to put into question their own categories of analysis or to engage with serious scholarly efforts to do so, these works do not analyze the problem so much as they create it.  Back.

Note 14: Pomeau et al., in five volumes, make not one mention of any scholarship on the sociology of literature, in the eighteenth century or any other period. See also the thoughtful but misguided essays by Pierre LePape, Voltaire, le conquerant (Paris: Seuil, 1994); and Didier Masseau, L'Invention de l'intellectuel dans l'Europe XVIIIe siècle (Paris: PUF, 1994).  Back.

Note 15: Le Monde, January 24, 2002.  Back.

Note 16: Bourdieu, Questions de sociologie, 70-80; these ideas are developed at greater length in Language and Symbolic Power, 103-159; and Homo Academicus (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984), 36-40, 105-112

Tony Judt, in his Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals, 1944-1956 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 205-227, invokes Julien Benda to discuss what he calls the "treason of the intellectuals" in the 1950s for their "self-abnegation" and unwillingness to stand apart from such dominant structures as the Communist Party.  Back.

Note 17: Elias, "Fisherman in the Maelstrom," in Involvement and Detachment, 45-118; Bourdieu, Language and Social Practice; Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashionings, 1-9; 255-257.  Back.

Note 18: Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier, 19.  Back.

Note 19: Reddy, Navigation of Feeling, 112-140.  Back.


A Field of Honor: Writers, Court Culture and Public Theater
in French Literary Life from Racine to the Revolution