Ethos in testimony: The case of Carré de Montgeron, a Jansenist and a convulsionary in the century of enlightenment

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Abstract

The cultural and religious phenomena of the convulsionaries of Saint-Médard, linked to Parisian Jansenism, raises questions concerning the testimonial discourses and their procedures of validation and accreditation within the context of the eighteenth century in France. The article focuses on Carré de Montgeron's corpus and examines the discursive modalities concerning the question of authenticity and the choices of rhetoric strategies used in order to legitimate irrational testimony within a hostile model of evidence that privileges rationality and objectivity. I argue that Montgeron intended not only to transmit a real life experience but tended towards the construction of "public opinion" that was likely to influence the course of political and religious events in France.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-433
Number of pages15
JournalEighteenth-Century Studies
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

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