La nuit trouve enfin la clarté: Captivity and Life Writing in the Poetry of Charles d’Orléans and Théophile de Viau
Keywords:Captivity, French verse epistle, political lobbying, dialogue, target readers
This article seeks to broaden literary and historical approaches to poetry written by Charles d’Orléans (circa 1433–1440) and Théophile de Viau (1623–1626) by focussing on their respective achievements as prison poets in dialogue with the outside world; it examines the precise impact of each writer’s verse epistles in terms of rhetorical strategies associated with the figure of the prisoner for targeted and pragmatic purposes; it defines and analyzes each writer’s affective means of rhetorical persuasion in evoking the consolations of memory and friendship to mitigate suffering and, most importantly, in addressing specific recipients and readers of his verse. In these ways both poets insist on an underlying truth to life in one of the most artificial, yet neglected, forms of life writing: verse epistles read as instrumental forms of political lobbying and self defence. The artistic quality of their work has ensured that both poets are still known and read. What has not so far been made apparent is how both poets secured their freedom by appealing as prisoners to specific readers of their verse epistles. Their choice of genre and the external evidence of the earliest witnesses to their texts make these prisoners’ poems invaluable case studies for life writing.
Copyright (c) 2013 Rivkah Zim
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).