French Enlightenment

  • Fontenelle and Russia. Creation of the Petrine myth in eighteenth-century France

    Author: Marek Mosakowski
    Institution: Uniwersytet Gdański
    Year of publication: 2017
    Source: Show
    Pages: 220-229
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/cip201713
    PDF: cip/15/cip1513.pdf

    In 1725 Fontenelle, a French writer, philosopher and member of the Académie des sciences, wrote Éloge du Czar Pierre Ier to commemorate the recent death of Peter the Great and at the same time to glorify the reforms undertaken by the late Russian Czar to modernize his country. By virtue of this text Fontenelle succeeded in creating the Petrine myth, subsequently popularized in France by other outstanding figures of the French Enlightenment infatuated with Russia, which in the course of the eighteenth century was undergoing unprecedented socio-political transformation. Our article aims to show how Fontenelle constructed this myth and what rhetorical devices he employed to advance and later to promote it in France of his times.

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