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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: 07 December 2021

The Legacy of French Reformation Satire

The Legacy of French Reformation Satire

(p.189) 7 The Legacy of French Reformation Satire
Reforming French Culture

George Hoffmann

Oxford University Press

Although the schismatic and iconoclastic sensibilities visible in French reformed satires doomed the movement in France, a number of attitudes explored through the fantastic-voyage device spread into French culture generally. Montaigne illustrates how the French, exposed to such ideas earlier in their lives, assimilated their conclusions even as they rejected the Reformation. Montaigne’s celebrated essay “Of Cannibals” turns both the surface imagery and the deeper structure of Reformation satire toward a new form of “inner distance” where one entertains considering oneself a stranger. Responding to reformers’ emphasis on the contingency of custom and their new procedures of observation, the essay defamiliarizes the Mass through implicit comparison with the ceremony of cannibalism. Finally, Montaigne avails himself of “stranger sociability” in elaborating a new form of anonymous intimacy with his reader. France may have remained confessionally Catholic, but it became culturally reformed.

Keywords:   Michel de Montaigne, Reformation failure, Gallicanism, Of Cannibals, defamiliarization, Mass, original sin, Great Flood, Amerindians, foreignness

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