Most important, their preoccupation with ambition forced nobles to think about the problems of success and failure and to seek explanation of failure in the nature of the polity itself. The result was a deeply pessimistic vision of the political community. A strikingly large number of the noble memoir writers described failed ambitions—an especially striking number given that most memorialists used their remarkable achievements to justify writing about themselves.
Of course, the collapse of so many aristocratic political calculations during the Fronde gave particular impetus to thoughts about failure. Retz, La Rochefoucauld, and their fellow conspirators had to reflect on the uncertainty of events and the downfall of their plans. In this as in much else, Monluc offered a pioneering example.
Though proud of his successful career and eager that others follow his example, he could not avoid expressing bitterness at the neglect he had suffered since the death of Charles IX; and he assumed that his audience, the future captains to whom he directed his reminiscences, "will say to me: 'And what will we do if we don't save and profit from the soldiers' pay? When the war is over, we'll go to the poorhouse: for neither the king nor anyone else will worry about us.
De Pontis was not alone in attributing his failure to the ingratitude of the great. Nobles saw such ingratitude everywhere. Service to the great, all contemporaries agreed, provided the appropriate structure for aristocratic political life, but such service involved no equality of commitment. The French princes, reflected Bussy-Rabutin, "know well that after giving a thousand vexations to a gentleman, the least of their caresses will bring him back and make him forget all the past.
Further down the social scale, petty nobles voiced comparable complaints about their aristocratic patrons. Is there some means of making my need clear to Madame? I am here far from relatives and friends.
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All of these complaints suggested the instability and fundamental inequality of political relations. Nobles described, in language suggestive of seduction and sexual submissiveness, giving themselves willingly and completely to those they served. But, so they claimed, they received no comparable emotional commitment in return; the great used them coldly, then neglected and finally abandoned them.
Political failure, in other words, derived from a moral failure at the heart of the social hierarchy. Nobles suffered for the unwillingness of the great to honor their obligations to their dependents. Comparable criticisms were directed at the king himself: he too, as disappointed aristocrats described the matter, refused to honor obligations to those who had served him, instead showering gifts on the disloyal.
Henri IV's reign displayed the problem with special clarity, for he subdued his extreme Catholic opponents with bribes and gave them an important role in his reign. The pamphlet mockingly dismissed those "feeble minds that judge only by appearances and lack sufficient vision to penetrate the secret cabinet of this prince's intentions. But their pamphlet accurately captured elements in the monarchy's own descriptions of its actions. The Crown did in fact claim to stand above legal restrictions, and it stood still more clearly above the expectations of its servants.
It offered both rewards and forgiveness as it chose, according to standards of judgment that only the king himself could fully understand. This is the stance that Corneille defends in concluding both Le Cid and Horace with instances of monarchical grace, moments in which rulers dramatically place other considerations before those of legality. Against this need, apparently reasonable claims for reward and recognition could have no force.
The Crown's secret reasoning did not lead to a larger rationality of political structure; on the contrary, it meant that the Crown would often fail its most loyal servants. Other criticisms emerged as aristocrats interpreted political failure.
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That politics depended on language and opinion led to dark thoughts about the political actor's vulnerability. His standing depended on what others said, and so he was constantly vulnerable to slander. Corneille here follows the ideas that the French monarchy actually applied in its pardons: see Natalie Zemon Davis, Fiction in the Archives Stanford, Complaints of malicious talk appear throughout seventeenth-century correspondence. They suggested both that reputations were fragile and that an array of enemies surrounded the political actor. Virtuous actions risked misrepresentation or concealment, because enemies surrounded the political actor and could turn language against him.
Such misrepresentations contributed to a larger problem, the play of irrational or entirely unpredictable forces in frustrating efforts and expectations. Political society, so these discussions of the unexpected suggested, had ultimately no understandable structure. La Rochefoucauld made the point when he considered the career of the duc de Bouillon: "The duc de Bouillon's ambitions rested on all the qualities that ought to have secured its success.
He was valiant and had a perfect knowledge of warfare. He had an easy, natural, ingratiating eloquence. His mind was clear, inventive, and capable of untangling the most difficult matters. Paine and the Abolition of the French Monarchy. Paine in the Convention. Paine in the Aftermath of Thermidor November —August Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction This book explores Thomas Paine's French decade, from the publication of the first part of Rights of Man in the spring of to his return trip to the United States in the fall of It examines Paine's multifarious activities during this period as a thinker, writer, member of the French Convention, lobbyist, adviser to French governments, officious diplomat and propagandist.
La facture de ces vers est rarement hugolienne. Mais globalement ce sont des alexandrins. Il a deux trous qui reviennent le soir.
Les formes de sociabilité en France du milieu du XVIIIe au milieu du XIXe siècle
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Then the breeze blew west. The rest deserted me Yet, when seven penc.
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Helene greeted me, then served me Schweppes. Refreshments were needed. The wether! She lent me her Kleenexes. Helene seemed pleesed, yet reserved; expectent re the recent events. Events present themselves well. These eyes begged her tell me the deserts she expected. Free jewels?
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Her extreme effervescence needed relentment, meseemed:. We regretted the news. Helene set her teeth. Her deep verblessness lengthened. Where led her secret, fervent reverees? The self-seeker? Her phlegm checked me. Nevertheless, her preference seemed effete. We need the pretext. Therese Merelbeke? Telex her! Ici, nous avons un VIP incognito, dit un papi sans un poil sur son cran. On dirait plutot Hugh Grant! Hugh Grant!
Nota bit ofit! Quand son slip choit, maints moinillons vont brandissant chacun un goupillon!