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Anger, Gratitude, and the Enlightenment Writer$
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Patrick Coleman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199589340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589340.001.0001

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Reconnaissance in La Vie de Marianne

Reconnaissance in La Vie de Marianne

Chapter:
(p.72) 3 Reconnaissance in La Vie de Marianne
Source:
Anger, Gratitude, and the Enlightenment Writer
Author(s):

Patrick Coleman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589340.003.0003

This chapter analyses how Marianne, the orphan heroine of Marivaux's novel La Vie de Marianne, manipulates the language of gratitude in order to secure the social recognition she believes she deserves. Although she is unable to prove her noble birth, by displaying a refined appreciation of the favors she receives she turns humiliating obligation into a self-validating evidence of high status. She transforms the hierarchical dynamic of benefaction into a mutual and more egalitarian exchange of tendresse reminiscent of the noble romances of Madeleine de Scudéry. By contrast, Marianne's noble friend Tervire's inability to devise successful recognition scenes (Terence Cave, Paul Ricœur) makes her vulnerable to social degradation. The chapter argues that this double plot illustrates Marivaux's own reflection on his status as an author dependent on, and yet empowered by, the patronage of influential women.

Keywords:   tendresse, recognition, orphan, patronage, benefaction, Scudéry

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