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Reforming French CultureSatire, Spiritual Alienation, and Connection to Strangers$
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George Hoffmann

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808763

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808763.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

No Place Anywhere: Observation as Worship

No Place Anywhere: Observation as Worship

(p.127) 5 No Place Anywhere: Observation as Worship
Reforming French Culture

George Hoffmann

Oxford University Press

Though often read as proto-ethnographic documents, French reformed accounts of the New World reveal their indebtedness to the exoticizing tropes of satiric literature. A growing sensitivity to custom as a function of place and to reformers’ own mobility, both geographical and mental, led to a precocious notion of universality—church could be anywhere one joined one’s hands in prayer. Far from merely disdaining “local” customs, reformers practiced keen forms of observation whose debt to traditional disciplined observance makes them count as a mode of worship, not an anticipation of scientific empiricism. Finally, satiric defamiliarization predisposed French reformers to accept their diasporic destiny.

Keywords:   Jean de Léry, travel literature, Brazil, customs, appetite, exotic, observance, observation, Frenchness, universality

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