The classically educated poet and soldier Chevalier de Boufflers spent 1785–7 as the French governor of Senegal—a sojourn he called ‘exile’—possibly as punishment for verses affronting the French court, thereby recalling Ovid’s famously offensive ‘carmen’ (Tristia 2.207). Boufflers recorded his unhappy experiences in Senegal in a series of letters written to his beloved, Éléonore de Sabran.Boufflers’s letters echo the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto of Ovid, extensively employing Ovidian epistolary exilic motifs such as the stormy journey, hostile exilic environment and natives, ‘exile as death’, celestial vengeance, and self-mythologization (in particular, utilizing the exilic models of Odysseus and Aeneas that Ovid had used before him). This chapter considers Ovid as a model for Boufflers, and other elements in his reaction to his personal misfortune.
Keywords: Chevalier de Boufflers; sepistolary; ‘carmen’; exile; Senegal; self-mythologization; hostile exilic environment; celestial vengeance
Chapter. 8237 words.
Subjects: Classical Literature
Full text: subscription required