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Thalassophobia and Geolatry: Bernardin de Saint-Pierre and the Geography of Virtue

Author: Ziad Elmarsafy
Publisher: DigitalCommons@McMaster 2002-10-01T07:00:00Z
Series: Eighteenth-Century Fiction
Edition/Format:   eBook
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Opinions are divided on the generic character of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre's Paul et Virginie. From the author himself, who calls it a "pastorale" without explaining why and then compares it to Homeric epics, to Jean Fabre, who sees it as an approximation of pastoral, to Jean-Michel Racault, who finds its Utopian pretensions lacking, to Lieve Spaas, who sees in Bernardin's fictional Mauritius a paradise at odds with  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: text
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Ziad Elmarsafy
OCLC Number: 646071071
Notes: application/pdf
Series Title: Eighteenth-Century Fiction

Abstract:

Opinions are divided on the generic character of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre's Paul et Virginie. From the author himself, who calls it a "pastorale" without explaining why and then compares it to Homeric epics, to Jean Fabre, who sees it as an approximation of pastoral, to Jean-Michel Racault, who finds its Utopian pretensions lacking, to Lieve Spaas, who sees in Bernardin's fictional Mauritius a paradise at odds with its native sexuality, critical views abound and readings multiply but provide very few definite answers.' What sort of pastoral is it, after all, where slaves are bought and sold and chaste heroines drown? For my purposes, I should like to draw on past interpretations to read Bernardin as a moralist and Paul et Virginie as an exemplary tale, offering a quasi-religious orientation and something like a moral prescription for a better world." In doing so I am following the example of Malcolm Cook, who has made a persuasive case for a religious reading of Paul et Virginie, but here I would like to suggest that the religion in question is more pagan, almost pre-Socratic, than Christian, and idolizes the land rather than Christ.

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