A History of Twentieth-Century British Women's Poetry by Jane Dowson, Alice Entwistle

By Jane Dowson, Alice Entwistle

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36 Chouillet portrayed Diderot as a genius without an audience, an artist who did not dare to write and stage a play that had the violent intensity of his own convictions. In addition, he suggested that the "canevastragique" [tragic outline! "38 Whether one reads his play as potential tragedy or as poor melodrama, the fact that it concludes by Dorval's putting an end to his own life certainly supports a reading of Diderot's pathos as sacrificial dialogue. " In this chapter, I shall develop an interpretation of the kinship among the participants in Diderot's sacrificial dialogue.

13 In Diderot, no longer does speech define the real because truth is viewed as essentially unspoken, inaccessible to the conventions of speech. " For Diderot, gesture is a discourse more authentic and natural than speech, unmediated by civilized constraints and hence closer to the 38 ENEALOGY OF THE BEHOLDER flux of nature. Gesture addresses itself not to reason, but to the heart, and to the eye rather than to the ear. What is meant to move the beholder in the spectacle of a Cleopatra, a Lysimond, or a Dorval are those things to which their words can only allude.

Ma soeur! Dorval! Rosalie! ROSALIE. DORVAL. ROSALIE. DORVAL. My brother! My sister! Dorval! Rosalie! ) What drew Rosalie and Dorval together, it now turns out, was not really passion but blood; conflicts that had threatened to tear a family apart are resolved at the moment when that family recognizes itself as such, under the eye of a loving father. The similarities between this moment of recognition in a model drame and the parallel moment in Sophocles' model tragedy Oedipus the King are as significant as the differences between them.

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