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Oxford University Press, USA

Descartes's Fictions: Reading Philosophy with Poetics

Descartes's Fictions: Reading Philosophy with Poetics

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Descartes's Fictions traces common movements in early modern philosophy and literary method. Emma Gilby reassesses the significance of Descartes's writing by bringing his philosophical output into contact with the literary treatises, exempla, and debates of his age. She argues that humanist theorizing about poetics represents a vital intellectual context for Descartes's work. She offers readings of the controversies to which this poetic theory gives rise, with particular reference to the genre of tragicomedy, questions of verisimilitude or plausibility, and the figures of Guez de Balzac and Pierre Corneille. Drawing on what Descartes says about, and to, his many contemporaries and correspondents embedded in the early modern republic of letters, this volume shows that poetics provides a repository of themes and images to which he returns repeatedly: fortune, method, error, providence, passion, and imagination, for instance. Like the poets and theorists of his age, Descartes is
also drawn to the forms of attention that people may bring to his work. This interest finds expression in the mature Cartesian metaphysics of the Meditations, as well as, later, in the moral philosophy of his correspondence with Elisabeth of Bohemia or the Passions of the Soul. This volume thus bridges the gap between Cartesian criticism and late-humanist literary culture in France.


Author: Emma Gilby
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Published: 05/15/2019
Pages: 240
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.05lbs
Size: 9.30h x 6.10w x 0.90d
ISBN: 9780198831891

Review Citation(s):
Choice 01/01/2020

About the Author

Emma Gilby, Senior Lecturer in French, University of Cambridge

Emma Gilby took up her current post at the University of Cambridge after a Research Fellowship at Emmanuel College. Her first monograph, published in 2006, was on the concept of the sublime in seventeenth-century France. This work was recognized in 2007 with the award of a Philip Leverhulme Prize. Since then she has been the Crausaz-Wordsworth Fellow for Interdisciplinary Work in Philosophy at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Cambridge, and the Scaliger Fellow at the University of Leiden. These research opportunities have allowed her to pursue her interest in scholarship that spans the disciplines of philosophy, literary criticism, and intellectual history.

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