Anger and Reconciliation in Robert Challe

Patrick Coleman

in Anger, Gratitude, and the Enlightenment Writer

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199589340
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191723322 | DOI:
Anger and Reconciliation in Robert Challe

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This chapter analyzes the rhetoric of anger, and the less salient but no less significant articulations of gratitude, in Robert Challe's deist tract the Difficultés sur la religion proposées au Père Malebranche, and in his novel Les Illustres Françaises. The two books offer complementary explorations of the quest for recognition of the individual's sense of self-worth. In the first, Challe's ambivalence about attributing anger to God reflects an uncertainty about whether human dignity is best vindicated by postulating an impersonal deity revealed only through an ordered cosmos or by a God who addresses humans personally and can be addressed by them in prayer. In the second, the characters' integration into society depends on balancing the acknowledgment of impersonal duties and the reciprocal acceptance of a community of persons. The importance of the rhetoric of emotion in shaping the distinctive form of each book helps us understand how Challe conceived his own relationship to his readers.

Keywords: deism; clandestine literature; theodicy; justice; Malebranche; novel

Chapter.  18126 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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