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date: 03 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the rising mid-twentieth-century attention to the Baroque as a challenge to “French Classicism.” The concept of the literary Baroque faced strong opposition in France, where it undermined a critical tradition that isolated the “Age of Louis XIV” from European-wide currents. After World War II, the transnational Baroque provided a model for a more cosmopolitan view of the seventeenth century. Its integration into French literary and cultural history, however, reverses established paradigms of cultural evolution and periodization according to which Renaissance Classicism is followed by Counter-Reformation Baroque. This development also raises questions concerning the intellectual and ideological underpinning of the Baroque, including its relation to monarchy and Cartesian modernity. Authors examined include foundational figures of comparative literature (Erich Auerbach, E. R. Curtius, Leo Spitzer, René Wellek), art critics and historians (Eugenio d’Ors, Arnold Hauser, Victor-L. Tapié), and pioneers of the French Baroque (Jean Rousset, Marcel Raymond).

Keywords: Baroque, Classicism, France, modernity, Louis XIV, Renaissance, literary history, cultural history, cosmopolitanism

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