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Dialogues and Addresses$
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Madame de Maintenon

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226502410

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226502403.001.0001

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Volume Editor's Introduction

Volume Editor's Introduction

(p.1) Volume Editor's Introduction
Dialogues and Addresses
University of Chicago Press

This chapter attempts to clarify a moral quality to be cultivated by the student audience. Justice, courage, prudence, temperance, piety, wit, and glory are among the virtues debated in the various dialogues. Maintenon's presentation of the virtues follows certain patterns of argumentation. Attentive to the gender of her audience, Maintenon repeatedly transforms the meaning of a virtue from its traditional masculine associations to the traits specific to the experience of women. Composed for classroom performance by older pupils at Saint-Cyr, Maintenon's dramatic dialogues constitute one of the theatrical genres used by Maintenon in her schema of education. At the beginning of the instruction at the academy, Maintenon had used written dialogues composed by the headmistress Madame de Brinon and by the novelist Mademoiselle de Scudéry.

Keywords:   dialogues, student audience, virtues, patterns of argumentation, Saint-Cyr

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