«Je disais…» dans mes Pensées: théorie et pratique de l’esprit

Myrtille Méricam-Bourdet

Abstract


Montesquieu’s Pensées considers the notion of esprit in all its forms, whether it is set forth according to the most general point of view in articles referring to L’Esprit des lois or to the Essai sur les causes qui peuvent affecter les esprits et les caractères; or used as a specific category explaining a readiness, an aptitude, or a relevance that is expected in a particular society – whether it be worldly, aristocratic, or even literary. These latter uses, occurring mainly in the three volumes of the Pensées, circumscribe the way in which ‘esprit’ has become «a principal attribute of our modern times» and in which it notably seeks to make itself be recognized in society. As in the Lettres persanes, Montesquieu analyzes these tendencies by putting his own esprit on stage. The theory and practice of esprit thus coexist in the Pensées in a striking way. 


Keywords


Enlightenment; Montesquieu; Montesquieu’s Pensees; Spirit; French society

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/ds-20627

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