Harry and Meghan (Pinterest)
Love to everyone ♥
© Micheline Walker
10 August 2018
The word “galant” was used to describe an opéra-ballet, André Campra’s L’Europe galante, with a libretto by Antoine Houdar de la Motte, and Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, a ballet héroïque composed to a libretto by Louis Fuzelier.
In Baroque music, galanteries were also suites of dances (see Galanteries). For instance, most ‘suites’ included a minuet, which is a dance. J. S. Bach composed French Suites, English Suites, and Partitas. Baroque music, however, was considered rather complex: intricate counterpoint, etc. The galant style would advocate simpler and more sentimental music. Bach’s sons composed music in the “galant” style. (See Fêtes galantes: Watteau & Verlaine in RELATED ARTICLES.)
But galanterie, as we know it, is not music. It is polite behaviour and, in particular, polite behaviour on the part of men towards women and men courting women. In 17th-century France, l’honnête homme was quietly galant and préciosité demanded galanterie on the part of men. However, galanterie was not a synonym of honnêteté.
In 1644, Charles Sorel (c. 1602 – 7 March 1674) published Les Loix de la galanterie , a short book. Sorel’s Loix de la galanterie is a book about the requirements of galanterie: money, fashionable clothes, acceptable manners, cleanliness, and étiquette in general. “Propreté, Civilité, Politesse, Éloquence, Adresse, Accortise, et Prudence mondaine [.]” (See Les Loix de la galanterie.)
As for honnêteté, it was described by Nicolas Faret in L’Honnête Homme, ou l’Art de plaire à la cour, (… the Art of Pleasing at Court) published in 1633, and Antoine Gombaud, known as the “chevalier de Méré ” (1607 – 29 december 1684). Gombaud was a godchild to Antoine de la Rochefoucauld and the author of L’honnête homme et De la vraie honnêteté. (See Antoine Gombaud, Wikipedia.) Honnêteté has social, moral and intellectual goals and honnêteté is not a synonym of galanterie, but l’honnête homme is always impeccable.
However, Antoine Gombaud is best-known for his contribution, with Blaise Pascal, to the development of the théorie des probabilités, the theory of probability, calculating the odds. L’honnête homme et De la vraie honnêteté were published posthumously. The chevalier‘s writings are listed under his Wikipedia entry: Antoine Gombaud, Chevalier de Méré. Britannica is in the process of refreshing certain entries.
The Chevalier de Méré, an aristocrat, contributed to the development of the salon, the birthplace of honnêteté and préciosité. Literature was the main activity of salonniers and salonnières but Mademoiselle de Scudéry‘s Clélie, histoire romaine, which contains the map of Tendre, a map of the country of love, has affinities with galanterie. I rather like Petits Soins (tender loving care) (see Carte du Tendre).
L‘honnête homme avoided extreme views and he had a good jugement; he was not vain nor boastful, he was insightful, and he was polite, which at times precluded frankness. According to François de la Rochefoucauld, the moralist, “l’honnête homme ne se pique de rien[.]” L’honnête homme never boasts.
In Molière’s Misanthrope, Philinte, who is an honnête homme, would not tell an aging Émilie, la vieille Émilie, that she uses makeup (le blanc) and behaves (faire la jolie) in a manner that does not suit an aging woman (I. i):
Quoi ! vous iriez dire à la vieille Émilie
Qu’à son âge il sied mal de faire la jolie,
Et que le blanc qu’elle a scandalise chacun ? (I. i)
What! would you tell old Emilie
that ’tis unbecoming at her age to play the pretty girl;
or that the paint she wears shocks every one?
Le Misanthrope (I. i)
The truth would hurt Émilie, which neither galanterie nor honnêteté would allow. If at all possible, one does not offend others in the name of frankness or “truth.”
In scene two, Oronte walks in with a copy of a poem he wishes to read to Alceste, the misanthrope. The poem is mediocre and, although he hesitates for the longest time, Alceste ends up saying that “Franchement, il [le poème] est bon à mettre au cabinet.” Frankly, it’s good for the garbage.) Cabinet is an ambiguous word. It can mean a drawer (cabinet making), but can also mean a toilet. Alceste is franc, but he is not civil. He is acting offensively in the name of sincerity or “honnêteté” in its literal sense.
The above are examples of the polemical nature of many of Molière’s plays. They could lead to debates. When it was first staged, in 1664, Le Tartuffe, whose protagonist feigns devotion and nearly ruins Orgon’s family, was not seen as falsely devout by Orgon and, given its subject matter, the play was banned. It took Molière five years to make Le Tartuffe acceptable.
Similarly, Les Précieuses ridicules (18 November 1661; Petit-Bourbon) was not a depiction of préciosité, except for allusions, such as the use of a purer language. Magdelon and Cathos, who have just arrived in Paris, are besotted by préciosité and salons, but they have yet to set foot in a salon. Real précieuses and salonnières would know that Mascarille and Jodelet are not salonniers. They would not let themselves be courted and amused by the valets of Du Croisy and La Grange, the two suitable young men Magdelon and Cathos rejected. The Précieuses ridicules has the plot of a farce: le trompeur trompé (the deceiver deceived). The tables are turned on Magdelon and Cathos.
Yet, Molière was criticized for portraying Les Précieuses ridicules. In the Preface to Les Précieuses ridicules, he wrote that Magdelon and Cathos were false précieuses and that “Les plus excellentes choses sont sujettes à être copiées par de mauvais singes.” (The most excellent things are apt to be copied by bad monkeys.) Besides, comedies of manners are “miroirs publics.”
Molière wrote comédies-ballets, but he also wrote comedies featuring gentilshommes, aristocrats and gods: Dom Garcie de Navarre (comédie héroïque; 1661), La Princesse d’Élide (1664), Dom Juan (1665), Amphitryon (1668)… Moreover, as an actor, Molière was fond of playing roles in comédies-héroïques. Critic Paul Bénichou dispelled the commonly held view that Molière advocated bourgeois common sense.
Molière was a human being and humans dream of worlds that are or seem better than the world they inhabit. Aristocrats were privileged individuals. So Molière featured aristocrats in a few of his comedies. For Molière, theatre was at times the goal of theatre. He created a comforting spectacle, an illusion.
Molière neither served nor disserved the “querelle des femmes,” feminists. Moreover, if there is a galant in the comedies of Molière, it is the young man who courts a woman who loves him, but whose marriage to her is threatened by a blocking character. Molière’s honnête homme is Philinte (Le Misanthrope), Cléante (Le Tartuffe) and other figures often called the raisonneur. L’honnête homme does not vilify women.
In L’École des femmes (1662) (The School for Wives), Agnès, who has been raised by Arnolphe to be his faithful wife, falls in love with Horace, whom she sees through her window. She rejects Arnolphe saying that the way Arnolphe’s speaks of marriage makes it sound terrible. Horace, on the other hand, presents marriage as pleasurable, which makes her feel like marrying:
Chez vous le mariage est fâcheux et pénible,
Et vos discours en font une image terrible;
Mais, las ! il le fait, lui, si rempli de plaisirs,
Que de se marier il donne des désirs. (V. iv)
With you, marriage is a trouble and a pain,
and your descriptions give a terrible picture of it;
but there — he makes it seem so full of joy
that I long to marry. (V. 4)
The School for Wives (V. 4)
Horace is galant and earns Agnès’ love. In comedy, galanterie is conventional, the goal of comedy being the marriage of young lovers, which would not be possible if the young man were not galant (love). But, as noted above, it is not honnêteté, at least not altogether.
I apologize for the long delay. I couldn’t concentrate due to a bout of mental fatigue and difficulties in gathering recent articles and books. I require these to write my book on Molière. All is not lost. I have contacted a number of sources and have used Jstor for several years, as a private scholar. Would that I still lived across the street from a library. However, when I quote 17th-century authors whose work I do not own, I use Internet Archives, the Project Gutenberg, and Google e-books. These e-books are seldom edited or annotated, but they are immensely useful tools.
With kind regards to everyone. ♥
Sources and Resources
 Charles Sorel wrote La Vraie Histoire comique de Francion, in the hope of dealing a blow to Honoré d’Urfé‘s pastoral romances. La Vraie Histoire comique de Francion (1623) was a success, but Honoré d’Urfé’s L’Astrée remained popular. However, Le Berger extravagant (1627-1628) did tarnish pastoral romances, or very long novels featuring shepherds and shepherdesses. (See Charles Sorel, Wikipedia.)
 Paul Bénichou, Morales du Grand Siècle (Paris : Gallimard, 1948), p. 263.
© Micheline Walker
16 April 2016
I have been trying to work, but I am not feeling well enough to do so. Therefore, please accept this lovely bouquet of flowers painted by one of France’s finest artists: Eugène Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863), rumored to be the illegitimate son of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754 – 1838), a French prince and one of the most enigmatic diplomats in the history of Europe.
My kindest regards to all of you,
MichelineEugène Delacroix (Romanticism)
0:20 – Liberty Leading the People
0:40 – Ovid Among the Skythen
0:50 – Frédéric Chopin (Unfinished)
1:00 – George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin – Unfinished)
1:15 – The Massacre of Chios
1:25 – The Barque of Dante
1:35 – Andromeda
1:55 – The Sultan of Morocco and His Entourage
2:05 – Tiger (Drawing)
2:15 – Aspasia (Drawing)
2:25 – Mounay ben Sultan
2:35 – Christ on the Lake of Gennesaret
2:45 – Tasso in the Madhouse
2:50 – Cleopatra and the Peasant
3:00 – An Arab Horseman at the Gallop
3:30 – The Death of Sardanapalus
3:35 – Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi
3:45 – Girl Seated in a Cemetery
3:55 – Self-Portrait
© Micheline Walker 13 February 2014 WordPress
My mother grew up during the Great Depression. Her family was not affected by the disaster. In fact, they could help the less fortunate and did help.
I have fond memories of my mother. She was raising four children and was therefore kept very busy. Four children had survived and fourteen had died. We were a Quebec family.
Every day she sat at her Art Deco dressing table and put cream on her face. She also dressed very well. Always.
I remember that she and Mariette, her Belgian friend, often got together to make lovely dresses for the three surviving girls. We loved Mariette. She and her husband were our best friends.
In fact, we were always together. Mariette had been the wardrobe mistress for the Brussels Opera company. Henri was a jeweller and a clockmaker.
Mother and I spoke together a great deal. She told me about the 30’s, the 40’s, as well as the 50’s. She was a singer, a mezzo-soprano, the perfect Carmen, and had had her own radio program. She would play records and make little comments.
She liked classical music, my father’s passion, but she was especially fond of a lighter kind of music. Lighter, but beautiful.
So let me close the day by playing one of the songs she loved, a love song. She so loved my father.
Mother, you have been dead for 9 years and I still miss you. I even need you. Obviously, I’ll never make it to adulthood.© Micheline Walker 14 July 2012 WordPress
(please click on title to play song)Translation: 1. In the prisons of Nantes, (2) There is a prisoner, … 2. Whom nobody visits, (2) Except the jailor’s daughter, … 3. One day he asks her, (2) What are they saying about me?… 4. The word is in town, (2) That you’ll die tomorrow,… 5. The very [fort] sprightly [alerte] young man, (2) Jumps in the sea (se jeter: to throw oneself),… 6. If I go back to Nantes, (2) Yes, I will marry her,…
* * *
January 30, 2012
Souvenir de Mortefontaine
I received a copy of Lynn’s last post. It arrived as my last post was leaving, which is a happy coincidence.
Lynn quotes Dr Howard Cutler, the author of The Art of Happiness. According to Dr Cutler, it is wise to “separate what is important in life from what isn’t.” I know that it is important for me to smile at the people I meet on campus and at my classmates. In other words, it is important for me to try and make this world a little better, even though this can only be done one person at a time.
My mother used to make all of her activities a pleasure. This left an imprint on me. However, she did not teach me that I had to say no to impossible requests. She taught obedience, as did most mothers at that time.
This has had serious repercussions. For instance, during a sabbatical I was devoting to finishing a book, I was asked to prepare a course on a subject I was not familiar with and, fearing reprimands, I accepted an impossible request.
I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for several decades, but have learned to manage this condition. However, I cannot carry a mammoth workload and too much stress can trigger an episode of CFS.
Although I cannot give details concerning my story, I believe I can say with considerable certainty that I was overworked out of my position and that, afterwards, it became difficult to find happiness in small events.
Yet I agree with you that happiness is in the details.
For instance, writing for WordPress is pleasurable as is studying music,or producing watercolour paintings. So, given that I derive happiness from these activities, I look upon them as important.
Besides, I enjoy beautiful interiors, so I have made my apartment a truly lovely space. I also listen to beautiful music while I write or paint. Moeover, I have never stopped trying to be a comforting presence for others. Finally, I give myself projects.
However, before I go back to my current project, allow me to send you a picture that has always given me great pleasure. It is by Camille Corot (1796–1875). In my life, Corot has always been extremely important.
I thank you for your post. That was also important.
* * *
October 1, 2011
Classes begin tomorrow, and I will be there.
In 2005, StFX having turned its back on me, I managed to re-enter the classroom by registering for a course at Bishop’s University. I was taking piano lessons and my teacher introduced me to Professor Eby, a musicologist.
What musicology! Yes, Medieval Music.
So I pounced and asked if I could take that course. Dr Eby accepted me as a student despite my having a PhD. One cannot imagine to what extent some people in our society marginalize women who are also scholars, particularly if said women scholars are also rather feminine.
But let’s continue.
As I was saying, in 2005, I found my way back to the classroom, but as a music student, an undergraduate music student. I soon realized that even at the undergraduate level, studying music is a challenge. However, I truly enjoy my courses. I take one course per semester, but I also study on my own. Studying on one’s own is something most undergraduate students cannot do easily. However, they learn faster than I do and their memory is generally superior to that of more mature students.
Surprisingly, I have bonded with the students. They are full of life and they have been very helpful to me and extremely kind. I enjoy sitting with them and chatting away.
Bishop’s is a jewel among small universities. It is one of Quebec’s three mainly English language universities, but that does not deter French-speaking Sherbrooke students from enrolling in music classes. In fact, those who do are very lucky. They are learning English while also learning a fascinating subject. As a result, I have both French-speaking and English-speaking classmates. Besides, among my classmates, there is at least one student who is adding a little zest to retirement by taking music courses, so I am not alone.
As well the University is an old university, by North-American standards. Some of the buildings are or should be historical monuments. As for the Department of Music, it has a lovely little concert hall, Bandeen Hall. Not only is Bandeen lovely, but it also has perfect acoustics.
At the moment, the Music Department is in some trouble. A few weeks ago, the people hired to repair something on the roof (I do not know the details) left the site without covering an exposed area. How irresponsible! It rained and several offices, as well as other rooms, were flooded. These were beautiful rooms and at least one office had a large fireplace.
So the professors have been moved to practice rooms until restoration of the building is complete. Moreover, Irene extended one or two nasty fingers in the direction of the campus. Bishop’s University is located next to one of the rivers that cross Sherbrooke. In fact, the campus is on one side of Sherbrooke’s main river: la rivière Saint-François or the St Francis River.
I hope the practice rooms were not affected by Irene. One of the practice rooms contains a harpsichord made by Yves Beaupré (see the Internet). That harpsichord is a treasure and it is located in the same room as a German organ. So I have been learning to play the harpsichord, an instrument revived by the legendary Wanda Lawdowska (1879 [Warsaw]-1959 [Lakeville, Connecticut]).
In short, here I am sharpening my pencils.
P. S. Lennoxville is a largely English language part of Sherbrooke. In fact, it is mostly bilingual
* * *