Powerpoint - Crisis of European Consciousness-7.ppt

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The Crisis of European Consciousness
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In summarizing the reign of Louis XIV, one must speak overall of the triumph of order : notably, classical theater dominated society and established the “unities” of: 1) time (a play unfolding in a 24-hour period), 2) place (unfolding in one location), and 3) action (unfolding with a single plot line).
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Moreover, one can apply this “unity” to the rule of the king himself since he inspires all political and social action. At the start of his reign, one observes a financial recovery, military victories, achievements in arts and letters, and the success of Catholic reform. But as the reign advances, the tone changes in a number of ways and for a number of reasons:
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The Crisis of European Consciousness As Louis XIV establishes himself at Versailles, he is gradually won over (through the influence of Mme de Maintenon ) by the “parti des dévots”, that is, the rigid and strict Catholic group that persuaded the king, among other things, to revoke the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The Jansenist spirit of the later part of the reign, that is, an anti-Jesuit sect of Catholicism which observed strict piety and considerable pessimism (especially in contrast to the joyful ambiance of the early part of the reign).
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One can see this pessimism displayed in the tragedies of Jean Racine , where man is NOT in control of his passions, and is thus NOT the center of the universe. Even in Molière ’s comedies, one sees a certain questioning of the self- assured social models (the “honest”, dignified man) that typified the earlier part of the century.
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  • Fall '16
  • Louis XIV of France, Crisis of European Consciousness

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