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AN EPICUREAN FAREWELL: SAINT-ÉVREMOND, LUCRETIUS, AND THE GODOLPHIN MANUSCRIPT

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Peer-reviewed

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Article

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Authors

Nicholson, Annalisa 

Abstract

This article examines the religious beliefs and writings of the French exile Charles de Saint-Évremond in light of the corrections that he made to his works in the final months of his life. These corrections provide significant emphases and nuances to Saint-Évremond’s view on death and salvation at a time when he could not ignore his own advancing years. Yet, while the corrections might appear to ‘clarify’ his views, they also embody the author’s particular brand of Epicureanism, which is underpinned by the continuous metamorphosis of body and mind. In this way, Saint-Évremond’s revisions showcase his final views on the afterlife at the very moment that he anticipated his own death and imagined his own posterity. With this focus on the writings of Saint-Évremond, this article considers the dual notion of ‘the afterlife’, that is to say, the spiritual afterlife and the literary afterlife. Drawing on early modern ideas about death and posterity, this study reveals how Saint-Évremond grappled with the uncertainty of the spiritual afterlife whilst hoping for a literary afterlife in his attempt to bequeath an ‘authoritative edition’ of his writings to future generations.

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Journal Title

French Studies: a quarterly review

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0016-1128

Volume Title

Publisher

Society for French Studies

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Rights

All rights reserved
Sponsorship
AHRC (AH/L503897/1)
AHRC (2096224)