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Flaubert's TentationRemapping Nineteenth-Century French Histories of Religion and Science$
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Mary Orr

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199258581

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258581.001.0001

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A Comédie (sur)humaine

A Comédie (sur)humaine

Chapter:
(p.159) 5 A Comédie (sur)humaine
Source:
Flaubert's Tentation
Author(s):

Mary Orr (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258581.003.0006

The crucial defamiliarization of 19th‐century French science set up via the Alexandrian Schools in Part Two allows Hilarion to return as intermediary/antagonist once more, this time as commentator‐double of Étienne Geoffroy Saint‐Hilaire as Starr has argued. This chapter however fills crucial gaps in Starr's arguments by elucidating previously unacknowledged 19th‐century intertexts and their importance for tableau five. Its parades of Nature gods (from India to the more familiar Rome and Gaul) turn myth language into 19th‐century scientific ‘story‐telling’ in deep time—geology and palaeontology—to describe creation. Saint‐Hilaire's growing discord with Cuvier is set in place for tableau seven and provides a solution for the knotty problem of Hilarion's departure and the arrival of the Devil (incredibly as Science) at the end of the tableau.

Keywords:   Geoffroy Saint‐Hilaire, Indian gods, Greek and Roman pantheons, comparative religion, myths of creation, geology, palaeontology

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