Classicism Essay

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In the following essay, Doubrovsky examines why a new generation of literary critics is drawn to seventeenth-century classical writing when their ideologies appear to be in contrast.

Classicism as everyone knows is typically French; yet, while being typically French, it is at the same time, and by definition, universal. Its universality is due to the twin cardinal virtues of order and clarity. Order, whether for literary historians like Nisard and Doumic, or for theorists like Maurras and Valéry, means the salutary enforcement of an authoritarian government on the body politic and the imposition of a strict set of rules and precepts on literature. Clarity is that unique pellucid quality of the French language once the impurity of concrete reference and the dross of emotional and imaginative outbursts have been removed. Sully, in a well-known statement in his Economies royales, said that "ploughing and pasturing are the...

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This section contains 3,309 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Classicism Study Guide
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Classicism from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.