La Rochefoucauld: Problems of Interpretation
The Maximes went through much revision. Among the most important changes are the discarding of the original prefatory discourse by La Chapelle-Bessé and the inclusion of expressions such as ‘souvent’ or ‘d’ordinaire’ which imply that the reductive analysis of the virtues admits of exceptions. The implications of these changes are analysed. They break, it is argued, the link between the text and the Augustinian critique of the pagan virtues. In particular the exact relationship of the Maximes to Augustinian thought is assessed. It is argued that though they can be said to draw on an Augustinian view of human nature, their critique of false virtue is very different from that propounded by Jansenist theologians, and has little distinctively Augustinian. The conception of virtue it presupposes is more akin to Aristotle’s and indeed Montaigne’s.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.