Préciosité (2350 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Helena Taylor (University of Exeter)
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The word préciosité has had a long and varied history in French culture. At the beginning of fifteenth century, it referred to female chastity; by the end, its plural form had come to designate affectation. In its “heyday” of the seventeenth century, it was a derogatory term used to describe the behavior and aesthetics of culturally active women, the précieuses; and in the nineteenth century, it was nuanced again and employed to malign writing by women that fell outside the constructed ideal of seventeenth-century French classicisme. The precise meaning of the word is still being debated by critics and historians, and essentially so, since establishing the definition and signification of préciosité

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Citation:
Taylor, Helena. "Préciosité". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 August 2016
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19478, accessed 10 December 2018.]


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