- Librio: Supplement Au Voyage De Bougainville (French Edition) - AbeBooks:
- Supplément au voyage de Bougainville
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- Diderot | French Studies | Oxford Academic.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. In giving this short philosophical work a rating I am faced with a dilemma: I found it very interesting, and agreed with most of the principles guiding it, but cannot adhere to all of the conclusions reached — even if Diderot keeps well away from forming an absolute conclusion. The depiction of the liberal lifestyle of the Tahitian people is pleasantly open-minded, denouncing the unnatural rules of European society at the time, but comes to reduce mankind's existence to its biological functions.
Man's search for transcendence and creation of symbols is labelled as superfluous — love is reduced to a lust only legitimate when driven by the urge to reproduce. This man, named Aotourou, became the sight of the Parisian salons, upon their return to France. The first part discusses a number of facts from Bougainville 's journal, as well as a characterization of the Admiral.
These facts come straight from the journal. It is possible that the dialogues between the cleric and Orou, the Tahitian, are reported dialogues which Diderot may have observed in Paris. The dialogues focus on the free and natural state of the people in Tahiti versus the corrupted and unnatural state of civilized man, particularly the clerics. In the context of the dialogues, Diderot also questions the right of colonization, suggesting how odd Europeans would find it if any foreign power would arrive on the coast of France and claim the territory in the name of an overseas ruler.
Diderot and Rousseau had been friends for many years, although later Diderot cursed Rousseau for stealing his ideas. Both of them use the philosopher's personal friends as characters, and they both promote atheism and an open-minded attitude towards sexuality--dangerous ideas in the 18th century. The core of the debate is the question of how one should live if one does not believe in God or in any external system of morality.
The philosopher's answer is that one should be virtuous, industrious, patriotic and generous. Rameau's response is to proclaim a philosophical life "devilishly dull," and to assert that you should simply "drink good wine, blow yourself out with luscious food, have a tumble with lovely women, lie on soft beds. Apart from that the rest is vanity. There is also much discussion of music and other arts, with many references to contemporary composers and performers.
Librio: Supplement Au Voyage De Bougainville (French Edition) - AbeBooks:
Orou, on the other hand, in his dialogue with the Almoner, puts into question the institutions of European culture and, in particular, marriage as a symptom of the decay of civilization. Not only is there symmetry between the two inner dialogues but also an inverse relationship connecting the individual voice Bougainville and Orou have proper names to the collective voice the Old Man and the Almoner, each as representative of his society :. Each word, each sentence uttered by an interlocutor takes on meaning only in relation to the person whom he addresses and who is at the same time his opposite.
This reciprocal exchange leads directly to another one, the spatial opposition between Tahiti and Europe. The lack of an intersubjective model as the external structure which would define language internally is not without paradox here. It is not clear in the Supplement, for example, under what conditions social discourse becomes possible.
It would seem, moreover, that the symmetrical and ordered oppositions within the interspersed dialogues all those excluding "A" and "B" assure the continuation of a social language which never totally puts itself into question. The moral contradiction between Tahiti and Europe leaves culture pretty much intact—corrected, reprimanded perhaps, but never totally censured.
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Diderot evokes this image in the article entitled "The Encyclopedia" from the Encyclopedia itself. The image of the map to convey not only the possibility for progress through knowledge but also the very project of the text entitled the Encyclopedia indicates the importance of assemblage and unification as a means of mastery.
Finally, the inner dialogues, which fit neatly into the division between Tahiti and Europe, can be read as the fictive history of a division internal to man. Such a fall from unity implies, of course, the possibility of redemption.
Supplément au voyage de Bougainville
The dialogue between "A" and "B" is different from the inner dialogues; it disperses meaning with a seeming alacrity while the others seek unity, a moral statement, from the firm opposition between Tahiti and Europe. A brief sketch of the ideological implications corresponding to the two levels of dialogue will suggest at least a partial explanation for the asymmetry between them. This notion of dialogue implies, as its extension or prolongation, a concept of utopia that depends upon an internal necessity of distance.
Both of these apparently converge at the focal point: the book which we are reading. However, it becomes increasingly clear that, within the spatial sphere of the text and through the explicit reflexion of "A" and "B" upon the act of reading, a kind of dispersion takes place which irremediably disrupts the ideal of unity. There is no exact counterpart to the schematic opposition which comes out of the dialogues between the Old Man and Orou within the dialogue between "A" and "B" since theirs does not split according to the same ideological distinctions.
As for the relationship between the two interlocutors, questions are asked, answers given, but in the last analysis one is hard put to distinguish between the two. In addition to the lack of psychological depth in these "characters," their dialogue cannot lead to any reconciliation of the voices since they seem to merge and separate indifferently.
Indeed, their voices, like their sentences, seem strangely seated both inside the text which we are reading and outside of the text which they themselves are reading a book of the very same title.
Thus paradoxically situated within and without the text, they become agents of a constantly displaced meaning whereby the reality of any referent is repeatedly short-circuited and subverted. For the act of reading cannot be dissociated from the act of writing here.
Marin situates the definition for this term, on the one hand, at a neutral point that falls into neither one or the other of the poles of the utopian contradiction or antithesis and, on the other hand, in the "plural"—that is, what he considers to be the dispersed field of utopian discourse. For such a slippage suggests a movement within which transcendent truth and meaning are no longer the absolute guarantors for either language of the individual subject, in search of his own origins, or for society as the reflection of an Other reality beyond this world.
This second sense of utopia is then the unhinging or deconstruction of the first. The lack of distinction between "A" and "B" indicates quite strongly that the critical and conceptual apparatus of the speaking subject does not function at the same level as within the other dialogues: theirs is a false critique, a false synthesis, and it is asymmetrical to the polarity between Tahiti and Europe.