By Richard L. Regosin
Possibly as previous as writing itself, the metaphor of the booklet as baby has depicted textuality as an merely son conceived to symbolize its father uniformly and to guarantee the integrity of his identify. Richard L. Regosin demonstrates how Montaigne's Essais either departs from and demanding situations this traditional determine of textuality. He argues that Montaigne's writing is healthier defined as a corpus of siblings with a number of faces and competing voices, a hybrid textuality vulnerable either to fact and dissimulation, to faithfulness and betrayal, to shape and deformation. And he analyzes how this unruly, combined brood additionally discloses a sexuality and gender dynamic within the Essais that's extra conflicted than the conventional metaphor of literary paternity allows.Regosin demanding situations conventional critics through displaying how the "logic" of a loyal filial textual content is disrupted and the way the writing self displaces the author's wish for mastery and totalization. He ways the Essais from various serious and theoretical views that supply new flooring for figuring out either Montaigne's advanced textuality and the evident interpreting that it at the same time invitations and resists. His research is knowledgeable by means of poststructuralist feedback, via reception idea, and by means of gender and feminist reviews, but even as he treats the Essais as a baby of sixteenth-century Humanism and overdue Renaissance France. Regosin additionally examines Montaigne's self-proclaimed flavor for Ovid and the function performed by way of the seminal texts of self-representation and aesthetic perception (Narcissus and Pygmalion) and the parable of sexual metamorphosis (Iphis).
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Additional resources for Montaigne's Unruly Brood: Textual Engendering and the Challenge to Paternal Authority
This extraordinary gesture may be occasioned by the shame she feels at the effusiveness of her prose or the boldness of her criticism, but much more ― 78 ― appears to be at stake here. We might insist on asking, "Of what is Marie de Gournay guilty"? I would argue that Marie de Gournay is guilty of having misspoken and, more serious, that she is guilty of having spoken at all. Traditionally, as the daughter she has no right to speak, even if, as in this case, the father seems to have authorized her voice in his text and again from his deathbed when he bequeaths the editorship of the Essais to her.
47) ("To be alone is to be only half alive. But how more miserable is s / he who remains only half alive for having lost the other half than for never having met it"). And yet the writing that articulates the experience of rupture and of fragmentation is also meant to overcome it, to be the means by which the self recovers itself, by which it comes to know itself (as in the case of Montaigne) or to assert and be itself (as in the case of Marie de Gournay). The desire to recuperate the self in this way derives from the convictions that writing incorporates the self into the text ("tout mouvement nous descouvre," Montaigne says [I, 50, 302]) and that reading can derive it there.
In either case the autonomy and integrity of the feminine voice is compromised, subordinated as it has been historically to (and within) the dominant masculine discourse. But only if the discussion ends here. This picture changes radically when I assume that the passage at the end of "De la praesumption" was written by Marie de Gournay herself and inserted in the 1595 edition after Montaigne's death. In this reading she is no longer Montaigne's creation, or his creature, but her own, no longer a daughter to whom the father (alone) has given birth but a writer who has engendered herself as daughter, who has projected her own image and inscribed her own being in the text of the father.