full name / name of organization:
MONTAIGNE AND THE ETHOS
-French Panel for the RSA 2006 Annual Meeting in San Francisco
-Panel Chair: Professor Mary McKinley, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
-Panel Organizer: Corinne Noirot, Rutgers University in New Brunswick (Goucher College in 2006)
-Please send lectronic submissions – pasted in the body of the email or as Word attachments - to
-Deadline for receipt of 150 word abstract (in French or English) with name, email, affiliation and AV needs:
May 16, 2005.
Sending a longer version of the abstract (about 400 words) along with the RSA-required 150-word proposal is strongly encouraged.
Contributions by young scholars are encouraged, as well as perspectives in linguistics and cultural studies.
Ethical interpretations of Montaigne’s Essays are reemerging in scholarship, largely on the premise of ethics as the philosophical study of values guiding individual conduct. Yet the realm of the ethical extends beyond moral philosophy. Poetry, Montaigne’s first love, was considered a part of ethics well into late medieval times. Ethics still encompassed political, domestic, social and individual governance in the Renaissance. Ethics is also etymologically tied to the ethos, this broad and untranslatable Greek notion (mores, voice, guise, posture, character, etc.) which philosophers and rhetoricians (vide Aristotle and Hermogenes), preachers, poets and humanists variously transmitted and transformed. The rhetorical ethos is essentially twofold. It is the image of a character, in a narrative or dialogue especially, and as such, implies the decorum personae. In literary uses of rhetoric, the foremost character expressing his “mores” is that of the author /narrator, which, in t!
he case of a first-person account, tightly links the ethos to the realm of self-representation. Reflexivity is at stake, as well as the credence of the reader. If the ethos is largely intradiscursive – a verbal artifact – however, what can authorize this constructed image of the speaker? Does the ethos exist outside the text? The Aristotelian ethos, between character and goodness leads to one of the main rhetorical strategies (logos, ethos and pathos); it is aimed at securing confidence and conciliation, using a personable and trustable character, and “milder” effects and emotions than the mighty pathos. In a larger sense the ethos conjures up issues of subjectivity, social interaction, community building and identity. Rich forays await us in exploring the scope and meaning of the ethos in Montaigne’s writings.
A few possible lines of inquiry on Montaigne and the ethos would be:
- Montaigne’s ethos in the Essays and the Journal de Voyage
- The ethos of the Other in the Essays and the Journal de Voyage
- Ethos and rhetoric in Montaigne
- Ethos and ethics in Montaigne
- Ethos, pleasure and seduction in Montaigne
- Ethos and sociality
- Ethos and nobility
- Typologies of the ethos
- Stylistic features of Montaigne’s ethos
- The ethos in a poetics of the Essays
- What transforms the ethos?
- Authority, authorization and the ethos
- Ethos over pathos in the Essays
- The confrontation of ethe in the Essays
- Intersubjectivity, interaction, pragmatics and the ethos
- The ethos of the reader
- Ethos and axiology
- Ethos and self-consciousness
- Ethos and self-fashioning
- Stability and variation of the ethos
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Sun May 08 2005 - 09:16:11 EDT