A Medievalist in the Eighteenth Century: Le Grand d’Aussy by Geoffrey Wilson

By Geoffrey Wilson

It is a standard trust that during France the learn of medieval literature as literature in basic terms started to achieve reputation as a legitimate career for the student through the 19th century. it really is popular that historians of the 16th, 17th and eighteenth centuries seemed to the literary productions of the center a long time for fabrics necessary to their researches, however it is simply lately that the awesome frequency of this reference has been favored and that students became conscious of an unbroken culture of what may top be defined as traditionally ori ented medievalism stretching from the 16th century to our personal. The eighteenth century has drawn the best variety of curious to this box, for it really is obvious that the unusually wide researches undertaken then do a lot to give an explanation for the development made a century later through the main celebrated new release of medievalistst. Very slowly we're coming to determine the worth of the contribution made via little identified schol­ ars like l. a. Curne de Sainte-Palaye, Etienne Barbazan and the Comte de Caylus.

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If the intimate domestic life of the great Roman people could prove a fascinating study, then so too would that of the French, themselves able to boast no mean achievement: Eh! pourquoi quelqu'un qui voyant les Franc;ais devenus, par l'amenite de leurs moeurs & par la superiorite de leurs ecrivains, l'une des premieres nations de l'Europe, ne se flatterait-il donc pas d'inspirer un interet semblable, en leur presentant les moeurs, les usages, en un mot la vie domestique de leurs Ancetres. 126 The publication of this second edition of the Histoire de la Vie Privee des Franfais more than thirty eventful years after the first was in itself something of a tribute to the work which, after all, represented only the first part of a collection left largely unfinished, at least unpublished, by its author.

J'ignorais, quand je quittais Paris, tous les plaisirs qui m'etaient prepares ... Que vous dirai-je; je me proposais de rester en Auvergne un moi; j'y en ai passe pres de cinq; & a mon depart,je regrettais encore de n'avoir pu en passer davantage. 140 This was very probably the first time that Le Grand had allowed himself to be seriously distracted from his scholarly researches in the capital and clearly he was delighted by the quite unexpected results. The strength of the Vtryage d'Auvergne, particularly in its first but also in its more carefully ordered second edition, lies in the great diversity of the observations made and the ensuing diversity of the style used to convey these, the variety born of unfailing interest: J'ai visite l'Auvergne, mon ami.

113 And yet, strangely enough, there was no suggestion that Le Grand would have done well to return the project to Paulmy, no suggestion that the Marquis might have found another deputy more capable of giving the work the "proper" emphasis and of producing the results expected, although we know that Paulmy and Le Grand had been at variance over the direction to be taken in the collection. On the contrary, both the Annie litteraire and the Journal de Monsieur found the basic plan to be at fault, a plan which Paulmy himself appears to have 109 110 111 112 113 P.

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