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De l'egologie selon La Rochefoucauld

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  • Linguistics
  • Logic


La Rochefoucauld's Maxims offers deep insights about egology, id est the discourse of the self, about the self, for the self. The language depicted by the moralist is obsessive, compulsive, and relentlessly saturated with the same, fascinating, object. It is also centripetal, in the sense that all its discourses, whatever stakes they may have momentarily, fundamentally refer back to the same thing : thus the self is bypassed and pointed out in the same gesture, thanks to the subtle play of metonymy. Ultimately, in the use of this morbid language, the predicate is less important than the theme : to speak ill of myself is at least to be speaking about myself, with the complacency of being in love. One can suggest that the genre of the maxim is particularly apposite to the description of the phenomenon, given that its structural impersonality enables it to avoid the obvious accusation that it is giving in to egology while pretending to condemn it.

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