Volume Editor's Introduction

in Dialogues and Addresses

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780226502410
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226502403 | DOI:
Volume Editor's Introduction

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter attempts to clarify a moral quality to be cultivated by the student audience. Justice, courage, prudence, temperance, piety, wit, and glory are among the virtues debated in the various dialogues. Maintenon's presentation of the virtues follows certain patterns of argumentation. Attentive to the gender of her audience, Maintenon repeatedly transforms the meaning of a virtue from its traditional masculine associations to the traits specific to the experience of women. Composed for classroom performance by older pupils at Saint-Cyr, Maintenon's dramatic dialogues constitute one of the theatrical genres used by Maintenon in her schema of education. At the beginning of the instruction at the academy, Maintenon had used written dialogues composed by the headmistress Madame de Brinon and by the novelist Mademoiselle de Scudéry.

Keywords: dialogues; student audience; virtues; patterns of argumentation; Saint-Cyr

Chapter.  10747 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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