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Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV$
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Hugh Gaston Hall

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151579.001.0001

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The Quarrel of the Imaginaires

The Quarrel of the Imaginaires

(p.319) 16 The Quarrel of the Imaginaires
Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV

Hugh Gaston Hall

Oxford University Press

In December 1665 Jean Desmarets engaged the Jansenist apologist Pierre Nicole in a doctrinal controversy, which Nicole turned into a personal ad hominem attack on Desmarets: the Quarrel of the Imaginaires. After the Peace of the Church temporarily ended public disputes over doctrine and morals among French Catholics in 1668, doctrinal and personal differences resurfaced in other forms, notably disputes over the Christian marvellous and the French national epic. Desmarets's earlier prosecutions of Charpy de Sainte-Croix and Simon Morin, his spiritual direction, Catholic organizational work, and writings — sacred and profane — became issues in the Quarrel of the Imaginaires, which soon involved public theatre as a whole and later led directly to the arrest of Isaac Le Maistre de Sacy and other fugitive Port-Royalists. The doctrinal quarrels which prompted Blaise Pascal's clandestine Lettres provinciales are generally better known than the somewhat later quarrels involving Desmarets directly.

Keywords:   Jean Desmarets, Pierre Nicole, Quarrel of the Imaginaires, Christian marvelous, Charpy de Sainte-Croix, Simon Morin, Isaac Le Maistre de Sacy, Blaise Pascal, Lettres provinciales

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