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Durham University

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Publication details for Prof John O'Brien

O'Brien, John (2013). Sun Worshippers. In Method and Variation: Narrative in Early-Modern French Thought. Gilby, Emma & White, Paul Oxford: Legenda.

Author(s) from Durham


The keywords of classical narrative theory – fable, history, and argument – open up enquiries into literality and fictiveness for subsequent generations of thinkers. This collection of essays explores the place of such enquiries in early modern French thought, spanning authors as diverse as Montaigne, Descartes, La Rochefoucauld, Mme de Villedieu, and Mme de Lafayette. How is the language of verisimilitude, veracity, proof, and invention embedded across genres and media? How do the explorations of fictional texts contribute in significant ways to the terms in which philosophical debates are conducted? How do different kinds of digressive or anecdotal narrative feed back into more abstract analyses? What does it mean to read what we would term ‘philosophical’ texts in a ‘literary’ way? We bring together some of the most distinguished and exciting scholars working in the field of early modern French Studies today.