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Images of Water and the Sea in Tristan L’ Hermite’s “La Mer” and in Painting

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Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 63)

Abstract

Seascapes and water in baroque poetry and painting often portray disquiet and portend disruption, disaster, and chaos. Skepticism and pessimism characterize this outlook in which man no longer exists as the highlight and center of a closed universe leading to eternal salvation. As late as the mid-seventeenth century, Pascal, in Les Pensées, states that man cannot acquire certain knowledge outside his own experiences. He describes man as existing in an incommensurable infinity of eternal silence. According to Pascal, man bases his uncertain certainty on uncertainty.1 Sponde’s Sonnet XI “Et quel bien de la mort” emphasizes the poet’s recognition of the illogical pattern of life. The poet’s voice is divided between resignation and rebellion as he questions: “C’est benediction que de vivre, pourquoy nous fais-tu mourir?” The query’s basic contradiction is overcome only by an act of faith in God and the belief in the reward of eternal salvation which bypasses reason and exists as an uncertain certainty.2 Baroque creative artists juxtapose the ephemerality of human existence with the eternal presence of the four elements: land, air, fire, and water.

Keywords

Closed Universe Lightning Flash Grieve Process Creative Movement Military Exploit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Blaise Pascal, Pensées, ed. Ch.-M. des Granges (Paris: Gamier, 1964). See pages 85–139 for a discussion of man’s belief in God.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gisèle Mathieu-Castellani, “Discours baroque, discours maniériste Pygmalion et Narcisse,” Questionnement du baroque, ed. Alphonse Vermeylen (Louvain-la-Neuve: Collège Erasme, 1986) 71.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jean Rousset, ed. Anthologie de la poésie baroque, vol. II (Paris: Colin, 1968) 72–73.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wilfried Floeck, Esthétique de la diversité: Pour une histoire du baroque littéraire en France, trans. Gilles Floret (Paris: Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 1989) 59.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bernard Chédozeau, Le Baroque (Paris: Nathan, 1989) 75–76.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant, Dictionnaire des symboles (Paris: Robert Laffont/Jupiter, 1969) See arche, arc-en-ciel, Iris. Rousset I., 245.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    François Tristan l’Hermite, “La Mer, à son altesse royale,” Les Vers héroiques, ed. Catherine M. Grisé (Genève: Droz, 1967) 57–69. All further references to this poem will be incorporated in the text.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    René Huyghe, ed., Larousse Encyclopedia of Renaissance and Baroque Art (New York: Prometheus, 1967) 259.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    John R. Martin, Baroque (New York: Harper, 1977) 14.Google Scholar
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    G. Genette, “Narcisse baroque,” Nouvelle Revue Française, Sept 1961, 558.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Gérard de Cortanze, Promenades baroques (Paris: Editions de L’Arsenal, 1995).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Michigan UniversityUSA

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