Emmanuel Picardi

GEMCA's researcher

Institut des civilisations, arts et lettres (INCAL)
FRFC PhD Fellowship, French Literature

Joint PhD Program
Agnès Guiderdoni, Université catholique de Louvain
Frédéric Gros, Université Paris-Est-Créteil (UPEC)

Title of the thesis
Lifestyle, speeches and truth in France in the Seventeenth Century

Research fields
Philosophie, littérature, poétique, morale, éthique, arts de vivre, moraliste, Antiquité, XVIIe siècle, « dire-vrai », parrêsia

Abstract of the thesis

Many recent studies on ancient literary productions have found a particular link between speech, way of life and truth, giving the latter a profoundly different meaning from our own (Hadot, Voelke, Domansky, Foucault). This is not about a truth in itself that would be reached through internal formal criteria or a method whose running fixed in advance only has to unfold. Rather, it is a truth that owes its presence to a fair balance between the speeches by people and their ways of life. This particular relationship to the truth can be found in the entire corpus of ancient productions with which the Classical Era has maintained an ongoing dialogue until the notorious quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns, which took place in the late seventeenth century.

My project proposes to measure the extent to which this particular relationship to the truth was received or refuted in the moral literature in the seventeenth century. It refers to the body of research, which questions the rapport between literature and the writer’s ethos (Bourdieu, Viala, Bury, Craveri). Finally, it intends to contribute to the knowledge of classical subjectivity on one hand, and on the other hand to the nature of this fundamental link established by classical thinking between the discourse and the mode of being and therefore, in a way, between literature and morale.

If the corpus is composed of literary work on morality by authors adulated by critics, it will not neglect the “minor” authors who have expressed more fundamentally and sometimes crystallized the discourse of the time. We will show the moral works of the seventeenth century – and behind them the literary discourse – never cease to question the possibility of true “franc parler”, namely the possibility of a "natural" match between thought and gesture, gesture and speech, word and deed, speech and manner.


« Le “dire-vrai” d'Alceste », Les Lettres romanes, 67, 1-2, 2013, p. 167-197.

« Le Misanthrope ou les apories d'une interprétation », GEMCA: papers in progress, 1, 2012, p. 19-42, [En ligne]. Read the paper


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