Dignified Retreat: Writers and Intellectuals in the Age of Richelieu

ISBN : 9780198826323

Robert A. Schneider
352 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Dignified Retreat is a panoramic study of the vibrant literary and intellectual culture that emerged in early seventeenth-century France following the devastating Wars of Religion. This was a period that not only witnessed the recovery of the country following these wars, and the emergence of a strong, 'absolutist' monarchy under the Bourbons, but also the rise and refinement of the French language and the development of a literary culture that would soon be known as French classicism. Casting his net over a wide range of writers and intellectuals, Robert A. Schneider has assembled a roster of more than 100 men and women of letters, those constituting what he calls the 'generation of 1630'.
While diverse, and indeed divided between those who hewed to traditional humanism and others more attuned to 'modern' linguistic and literary developments, this cohort largely shared a commitment to a cultural renewal of France, its rise to prominence in the geopolitical arena of Europe, and the emergence of a strong centralized monarchy. They depended on both the traditional aristocracy and the king's powerful minister, Cardinal Richelieu. But despite this dependency, these writers and intellectuals maintained a degree of independence and, more significantly, were the prime movers in crucial cultural developments that are too often identified with royal initiatives.
For example, the author demonstrates that the Academie francaise, founded in 1635 by Richelieu, often considered formative in French cultural history, was actually more the result of the creative initiatives of these men of letters, which the savvy Cardinal only managed to co-opt and turn to the purposes of the crown.


1 Reforming French: The Making of a Movement
2 Aristocrats and Writers: The Emergence of a Parisian 'World'
3 A Culture of Discretion
4 Richelieu and Writers
5 The Rambouillet Salon: 'A Purified World'
6 The Dupuy Cabinet: 'An Innocent Refuge'
7 Writing Otium: Retreat as a Mode of Engagement


Robert A. Schneider received his undergraduate degree from Yale and his PhD from the University of Michigan. He has taught at Brandeis University, the Catholic University of American, and, since 2005, at Indian University, Bloomington. He has been a visiting professor at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Bristol University, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. He has received fellowships from the Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the French Government (the Chateaubriand fellowship), and he has been a visiting scholar at All Souls College and Oriel College in Oxford. He has published several books on early modern French history, and was the editor of the American Historical Review from 2005 to 2015.