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More adventurous than the average bear

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Saturday, March 17, 2012


"Marianne insists throughout the course of her narrative that she is not an author (“je ne suis point auteur”) and that she knows neither how to write nor how to express complex abstractions. The fact that she tells her reader this in the midst of a narrative characterized by extreme verbosity and a penchant for philosophical digressions is a significantly ironic point not to be overlooked.’She begins her story by complaining to the friend to whom she is writing her memoirs that she has no literary competence...

The above passage should not, however, convince us that Marianne truly believes her lack of verbal style renders her ineffectual as an observer of the human condition. While advertising her naïveté, she, like the primary voices of Marivaux’s journals, also believes that it is this very naïveté that validates her observations and makes them all the more genuine"

--- Face Value: Physiognomical Thought and the Legible Body in Marivaux, Lavater, Balzac, Gautier, and Zola / Christopher Rivers

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