This lecture looks at four interpretations of the Imitation of Christ in the French 17th century, and at certain of the difficulties with which they confront both writers and readers: first, Pierre Corneille’s translation of the devotional classic by Thomas a Kempis, and the illustrations he provided for it; second, the same writer’s martyr tragedy, Théodore, with respect to aspects of propriety and dramaturgy; third, the autobiography of Jean-Joseph Surin, the priest at the centre of the Loudun possessions, in his role as exorcist; and finally the words of Eucharistic institution, as a topic of polemical writing by Bossuet.
Professor Richard Parish
Professor of French, University of Oxford
About the Speaker:
Richard Parish is a Professor of French at the University of Oxford. He has worked on classical theatre, memoirs and Christian writing in the seventeenth century. His most recent book, Catholic Particularity in the French Seventeenth-Century: Christianity is strange, was published by OUP in 2011.