Skip to main content
Recherche infructueuse



Références de l’article

Lettres de la Marquise (exercices), , mis en ligne le 14/04/2021, URL :


Ressources externes

"My taste must not be good, it is often contrary to yours. You made me reread Crébillon's novels, they are the bad places of metaphysics; there is nothing more disgusting, more twisted, more precious and more obscene; is it possible that someone who loves Madame de Sévigné's style (who only excepts the tenderness), esteems Crébillon and advises reading him? " (Mme du Deffand to Horace Walpole, January 30, 1768.)


Dissertation n°1 due November 10, 2010

Explain and comment on these remarks by Andrzej Siemek in light of your reading of Lettres de la Marquise: "The author lacks physical and symbolic substance. Already at the point of departure, before tackling the work, we see the void from which it emerges. This emptiness is a temptation and a trap, because we want to fill it by interpreting texts which, unfortunately, lend themselves rather poorly to univocal interpretation. It's interesting to see how historical contradictions are matched by reading contradictions. (Andrzej Siemek, Morale and Aesthetics in Crébillon fils, Oxford, SVEC, 1981, p. 15.)

Dissertation n°2 sur table, samedi 13 novembre 2010, 9h-16h, salle D239

Explain and comment on these remarks by Jean-Louis Cornille: "By choosing to give us only the female letters, Crébillon fils lends credence to this reduction of the libertine body to a simple point of observation from which the discourse reflects: the correspondent is entirely contained in the address he constitutes to the woman. He is the point in the letter's journey where it turns in on itself, and submits to the woman the disguise of her sighs". (J. L. Cornille, La Lettre française, de Crébillon fils à Rousseau, Laclos, Sade, Peeters/Vrin, 2001.)

Dissertation n°3 due December 22

In La Convention de l'amour-goût chez Claude Crébillon, Thierry Viart writes: "In Crébillon's novels, the desire of the characters is always mediated by the desire of a third party, but the mimetic nature of this mediation is much more often implicit than truly stated. [...]. The triangular combinatorics of external mediation, when the subject openly acknowledges himself the disciple of his model, or those of the multiple figures of internal mediation, when the approach of the model engenders the rivalry of the characters for the indivisible object of desire, are the irreducible data of Crébillon's novelistic problematic." (SVEC, 1999, p. 172.) Do these reflections strike you as appropriate for Lettres de la Marquise?


Romantic personnel

Tragedy and libertinage


Text explanations

Letter LXIII, from "Traitor that you are!" to "compensate me for what you made me suffer." (p. 202-203)

Letter LXX, from "It's no longer time to flatter yourself, the moment is approaching" to "Adieu. I lose you forever." (p. 220)

Letter XLVII, from "I won't tell you what her movements were during this beautiful recital, they are inexpressible" to "and I was content in bidding her the most contemptuous farewell, to take leave of her forever." (p. 157-158).

"Eh mon Dieu, dormez, mon pauvre Comte!" (p. 107) through "(A few letters have been deleted here.)" (p. 108)



Lettres de la Marquise