What is turmoil? How may it be captured? What were its manifestations in the eighteenth century? Why does it feel so familiar, even urgent, nowadays? This volume proposes a completely new ontology of turmoil through study of its incidence and impact in the eighteenth-century francophone context. The interdisciplinary essays in this bilingual volume provide multiple illustrations of eighteenth-century instability and insecurity, as well as subsequent adjustments to a post-turmoil new normal. Each instance illuminates human resilience and the mechanisms of post-turmoil elasticity and adaptation in Enlightenment, revolutionary and post-revolutionary writing by female authors Charrière and Monbart, in publications by male authors Beaumarchais, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Chamfort, Dupaty, Raynal, Sade and Voltaire, and also in writing by relatively unknown authors, journalists and critics, who capture the turmoil of the global francophone eighteenth-century world. The topics explored emerge as universal ones, familiar to a modern readership: textual and visual revisionism, symbolism within natural disasters, realignment of beliefs, instability of memory, repositioning of historical narratives, female insecurity, attacks on public figures, post-revolutionary resilience and the impact of exile. Through its unique identification of three key generative indicators for turmoil —phenomenon, paradigm shift, elasticity of adaptation— this volume’s contributors deliver a distinctive, rich and new ontology of turmoil.
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