‘Gallant Dialogue’ in Catherine’s II Memoirs

Tatiana Akimova

Abstract


This article analyses ‘gallant dialogue’ in the memoirs of Catherine II as a special narrative strategy employed by the empress to represent herself as an enlightened monarch and make an impact on the reader. In the French literature and art of the 17th and 18th centuries, the notion of ‘gallant dialogue’ was developed by scholars like A. Viala, D. Denis, and C. Cazanave. It was not only understood as a special type of aesthetics, poetics, or stylistics, but also as a means to construct images of the writer and reader. Due to the fact that Catherine II’s memoirs are different from all her other works (as she was writing them for herself), it is mostly herself that she addresses in the ‘gallant dialogue’. Consequently, the memoirs’ narrative acquires a dual character, having features of both the theatrical and novel chronotope. The theatrical chronotope is characterised by a three-part vertical arrangement of the images in the narrative. The reason for such a hierarchy is the norms of gallantry and ethics of behaviour at the court, the so-called ‘science of love’. In its turn, the novel chronotope is represented by a gradual personal development of the heroine as she learns how to live peacefully with her palace family and laugh merrily at the absurdities of life and rise above them.


Keywords


Catherine II; memoirs; gallant dialogue; author’s strategy.

References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2017.2.234

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