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Defining France Forum

Defining France Forum Texts that explore the interface between the visual and the verbal

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  2. Lais - 

    • Text claims oral origin - Breton stories, Celtic folklore - yet has been transformed by Marie into written text - she crafts visual material to be read from ephemeral verbal speech
    • Fictions of Orality - the text is fiction; is the interface created as a facade by Marie? Why claim oral origin if she conjures up the plot herself? Immediacy, credibility - the visual product is more daring for a woman to create, so needs further justification and evidence 
    • In the text, visual used to mitigate destructive effects of verbal - speech is death, kills nightingale and affair by having to verbally justify getting up in the night - writes down an explanation of events on embroidered silk - visual is silent, easier to speak earnestly - the verbal form forces lady to lie due to proximity 
    • Reading experience - visual and verbal marry together - need the decorations, illuminations, drawings in manuscript to convey significant themes, moments in lai - part of manuscript culture for those who cannot read - restricted literacy - nobles could read - many people wrote in the aristocratic and intellectual language of Latin which perpetuates tradition of inaccessibility of texts - Marie writes in vernacular French - would be read aloud in public domain - entertainment from reading aloud, illuminations 
    • Knowing that text would be read aloud - establishes imagery in prologue to allow visual element to prevail - figurative metaphors of flowers blooming 

    Cité des dames - 

    • Premise of book - visual cité is created through verbal advice of dames - verbal dialogue - engage with higher powers - allegorical - both serve same purpose - interface exists to protect and defend women - inspire hope of such a Utopia, where women can seek refuge - Foucault - space exists to exercise power
    • Verbal and visual linked together in male writing and speech - the idea that Christine, the narrator, poses misconceptions that she has overhead men speak but also presents written ideas, such as Lamentations by Mathéolus - interface of oppression - interface brings Christine to tears, needs salvation and liberation - men dominate the textual tradition and verbal tradition 
    • Christine as narrator - verbal existence - naive, poses questions to three ladies which need refuting - weakness in her speech countered by Christine as author - personal scriptorium, illuminates, governs in her texts - political, authoritative, authorial - crafts visual manuscripts - power
    • Achievements of women from past can only be evoked through memory - anamnesis - allusions to women through speech - no visual element - do not see women - feminocentric canon drawn upon - use of illuminations and drawings of ladies necessary - Queen's MS - sell to patron - richness of speech in richness of manuscript 

    Tartuffe - 

    • Comedy - repetition - 'Et Tartuffe?'/'Le pauvre homme!' - clear signs that Orgon has been deceived and creates slapstick element comedy despite dark tones of play - visual aspect of Orgon hiding beneath a table to create dramatic irony - 1655 - first farce published
    • Lack of visual compensated for by speech of others - obsession over Tartuffe - he is not present until Act III - visual form, yet absence can be just as telling - use speech to fill in for absence - notable a character is not yet present as not visually viewed - viewer is not affected in a detrimental way but discovers instead tensions leading up to emergence of character - more they hear verbally, more they want to see visually 
    • Visual and verbal are techniques used by Tartuffe - deception - faux dévot - religious hypocrisy - levied at Catholics, Moliere was educated in Jesuit conditions yet later declares religious austerity - visual and verbal used together to create reaction from Catholics - condemn play, censure it - takes 4 year years to be released - combination of both elements creates dangerous interface - belief that religion should not be discussed in a comedy 
    • Cléante - honnete homme - voice of reason - relies on words alone to demonstrate his points on Tartuffe - do we need visual? Visual aspects can seem burlesque or hyperbolic, suggests that everyone but Cléante is to some degree superficial, motivated by how they appear to others 

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