Turmoil: Instability and insecurity in the eighteenth-century Francophone text

BookTurmoil: Instability and insecurity in the eighteenth-century Francophone text

Turmoil: Instability and insecurity in the eighteenth-century Francophone text

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2022:05


May 9th, 2022





What is turmoil? How may it be captured? What were its manifestations in the eighteenth century? Why does it feel so familiar, even urgent, nowadays? Turmoil proposes a completely new ontology of turmoil through study of its incidence and impact in the eighteenth-century francophone context. The interdisciplinary essays in this bilingual volume provide multiple illustrations of eighteenth-century instability and insecurity, as well as subsequent adjustments to a post-turmoil new normal. Each instance illuminates human resilience and the mechanisms of post-turmoil elasticity and adaptation in Enlightenment, revolutionary and post-revolutionary writing by female authors Charrière and Monbart, in publications by male authors Beaumarchais, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Chamfort, Dupaty, Raynal, Sade and Voltaire, and also in writing by relatively unknown authors, journalists and critics, who capture the turmoil of the global francophone eighteenth-century world. The topics explored emerge as universal ones, familiar to a modern readership: textual and visual revisionism, symbolism within natural disasters, realignment of beliefs, instability of memory, repositioning of historical narratives, female insecurity, attacks on public figures, post-revolutionary resilience and the impact of exile. Through its unique identification of three key generative indicators for turmoil —phenomenon, paradigm shift, elasticity of adaptation— this volume’s contributors deliver a distinctive, rich and new ontology of turmoil.

Author Information

Síofra Pierse is Associate Professor in French and Head of SLCL at University College Dublin. She specialises in 18th-century French literature, is editor of The City in French Writing (UCD Press), co-editor of The Dark Side of Diderot (Peter Lang), author of Voltaire historiographer: Narrative Paradigms (Voltaire Foundation) and Voltaire: A Reference Guide (forthcoming). Emma M. Dunne completed her PhD in French under Síofra Pierse (supervisor) as Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar and Resident Scholar at UCD Humanities Institute, University College Dublin. Her PhD investigates concepts of happiness, identity, migration and exile within the writings of Dutch-Swiss francophone author and composer, Isabelle de Charrière.