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Title: Ce qui s'enseigne : the Querelle des collèges and the emergence of littérature, 1750-1789
Author: Tidman, Gemma
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 7256
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This study examines an important eighteenth-century French querelle about literary education which has so far gone unacknowledged by scholars as a querelle and which, I argue, helped redefine contemporary notions of littérature. This querelle is the series of disputes about how to reform literary education in the collèges, which gathered momentum in the early 1760s, following the expulsion of the Jesuits and the publication of Rousseau's Émile (1762). I propose that we call this querelle the Querelle des collèges. Using a combination of close reading, sociological methodologies, and scholarly approaches to the study of early modern querelles, I examine how a diverse corpus of texts debated how to reform collège literary teaching practices. By resituating Émile in this context, I show that it was one among many interventions in the Querelle des collèges. My study of this Querelle demonstrates that querelleurs increasingly reached a consensus that practices associated with the disciplines of rhétorique and belles-lettres should be replaced by new practices of littérature, which were intended to turn boys into French 'grands hommes'. This Querelle was not only constituted by texts, but also by pedagogical practices, as evidenced by the results of my original archival research into the literary teaching practices of the École royale militaire, founded in 1751. Finally, my analysis situates the Querelle des collèges in the context of broader eighteenth-century debates about education, which I argue should be understood as the Querelle de l'éducation, and I provide the first corpus of this Querelle. This thesis challenges scholarly claims that littérature is a nineteenth-century invention. It argues, instead, that modern notions of littérature as 'an aesthetically pleasing, valued text', and 'a national canon', which began to appear in the late seventeenth century, were stabilised and legitimised by being written into the school discipline of littérature, which emerged between 1750 and the Revolution, in the context of the Querelle des collèges.
Supervisor: Tunstall, Kate Sponsor: Wolfson Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: French Literature ; Early Modern Literature ; History of Education ; French Cultural History ; Eighteenth-Century Europe ; French ; Litte´rature ; Jesuits ; Colle`ges ; E´cole militaire ; Rousseau ; E´mile, ou de l'e´ducation ; Querelles