Journal Article

Ruse and Reappropriation in the French Eighteenth Century: La Philosophie des vapeurs by C.-J. de B. de paumerelle

Sabine Arnaud

in French Studies

Published on behalf of International Society for Human and Animal Mycology

Volume 65, issue 2, pages 174-187
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0016-1128
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1468-2931 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/fs/knq248
Ruse and Reappropriation in the French Eighteenth Century: La Philosophie des vapeurs by C.-J. de B. de paumerelle

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • European History
  • European Languages
  • Literary Studies (European)

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Paumerelle's La Philosophie des vapeurs is composed of letters written by a Marquise on the art and use of the vapours, presenting them as an essential tool for any aristocrat worthy of her rank. Although the text begins under the guise of banter, it quickly moves on to overturn common conceptions of the malady. The fragility, sensitiveness, and nervousness usually associated with the vapours give way to strategy and method. The treatise classifies emotions and gestures, formulating a hierarchy among symptoms. One is taught to induce crises following reflection and study, in a linking of ruse and sensibility. This article begins by examining the role of the vapours, who is permitted to perform them, and where and how symptoms are best put to use. It then addresses La Philosophie des vapeurs as a rewriting of Baltasar Gracián's The Art of Wordly Wisdom. While the treatise's formatting in private correspondence is an eminently feminine form, the letters displace perceptions of gender. Women are described as being in perpetual study of their bodies and emotions, developing self-mastery, and controlling their image in society. Lastly, I analyse how the simultaneous use of conflicting powers of passions and reason situates the work as an eighteenth-century restaging of the art and codes of courtly society.

Journal Article.  7195 words. 

Subjects: European History ; European Languages ; Literary Studies (European)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.