Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

Henriette-Julie de Murat claims in the foreword of Histoires sublimes et allégoriques (1699) that the only source for her tales is Straparola’s Facetious Nights, yet this claim seems to be misleading. Taking “The Savage” as an example, this essay first assesses the reasons we should doubt Murat’s claim. It then explores other possible literary sources for “The Savage,” such as Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Straparola’s “Guerrino and the Savage Man,” and the Breton folktale “Georgic and Merlin,” as well as biographical elements, both from details surrounding her exile by Louis XIV in 1702 and from her fictional but autobiographically inspired, proto-feminist Mémoires de Madame la Comtesse de M*** (1697). The essay concludes with an analysis of how the central themes and motifs of “The Savage,” especially gender and transformation, reveal parallels between Murat’s life and the characters of Princess Constantine and the eponymous savage and suggest that “The Savage” represents Murat’s desire yet inability to reverse the transformations she experienced in her own life.

Origin of Submission

as part of a class

Faculty Involvement

Jill Rudy

Location

4116 JFSB

Start Date

18-3-2016 10:45 AM

End Date

18-3-2016 11:45 AM

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Mar 18th, 10:45 AM Mar 18th, 11:45 AM

The Scandal of Sources of Henriette-Julie de Murat’s Histoires sublimes et allégoriques

4116 JFSB

Henriette-Julie de Murat claims in the foreword of Histoires sublimes et allégoriques (1699) that the only source for her tales is Straparola’s Facetious Nights, yet this claim seems to be misleading. Taking “The Savage” as an example, this essay first assesses the reasons we should doubt Murat’s claim. It then explores other possible literary sources for “The Savage,” such as Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Straparola’s “Guerrino and the Savage Man,” and the Breton folktale “Georgic and Merlin,” as well as biographical elements, both from details surrounding her exile by Louis XIV in 1702 and from her fictional but autobiographically inspired, proto-feminist Mémoires de Madame la Comtesse de M*** (1697). The essay concludes with an analysis of how the central themes and motifs of “The Savage,” especially gender and transformation, reveal parallels between Murat’s life and the characters of Princess Constantine and the eponymous savage and suggest that “The Savage” represents Murat’s desire yet inability to reverse the transformations she experienced in her own life.