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Negotiating Literary Identity during the Divide between the Philosophes and the Anti-Philosophes (1745-1765)

Ertunga, Mert (2016) Negotiating Literary Identity during the Divide between the Philosophes and the Anti-Philosophes (1745-1765). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation centers on the negotiation of literary identity in the philosophes vs. anti-philosophes divide during the middle decades of the eighteenth century. During that time, the ideas of the philosophes were gaining ground in readership and popularity, and, as a consequence, their enemies were beginning to perceive their ideas as pernicious threats to the traditional values upon which the French monarchy was built. Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau squared off against anti-philosophes such as Élie Catherine Fréron, Charles Palissot, and the abbé Nicolas-Sylvestre Bergier in debates concerning literature, religion, and education. Philosophes questioned the principles on which the old order rested and relentlessly called on “reason” to challenge prejudices, while the anti-philosophes accused their adversaries of conspiring to subvert the French monarchy by rattling the foundations of the established religious practices and social peace.
The careers and writings of the playwright Michel-Jean Sedaine and the literary critic Élie Fréron are examined in the first two chapters as a means of analyzing the challenges faced by up-and-coming writers in order to establish legitimacy as an author in an unstable literary arena. There were also what I term the “ecto-philosophes,” writers who belonged neither to the philosophical camp nor to the anti-philosophical one. Their writings fell into oblivion for over two centuries as most scholarly studies have focused on the writings of the philosophes and their adversaries. The third and final chapter includes a detailed study of their contribution to the literary production during the conflict between the philosophes and the anti-philosophes.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ertunga, Mertmee26@pitt.eduMEE26
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMecchia,
Committee CoChairAgin,
Committee MemberReeser,
Committee MemberMuenzer,
Committee MemberInsana,
Date: 1 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2016
Approval Date: 1 June 2016
Submission Date: 14 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 274
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > French
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophes, anti-philosophes, voltaire, rousseau, marmontel, sedaine, freron, palissot, diderot, ecto-philosophes
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2016 20:30
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:32


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