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***NASSCFL 2018 CFP: deadline Oct 10***

Submitted by JessicaKamin on 27 September 2017 - 4:07pm

Call for Papers

NASSCFL 48th Annual Congress

Lecce (Italy), June 27-30, 2018


Submission Deadline: October 10, 2017




48th Annual Congress of the

North American Society for Seventeenth Century French Literature



27-30 june 2018


Honesty during the Grand Siècle : good manners and Belles Lettres

The NASSCFL (North American Society for the Seventeenth Century French Literature) which gathers the 17th century French specialists from all over the world, will lead its 48th international annual congress in Lecce (Italy) to discuss about the subject of honesty during the Grand Siècle.  


Since the Renaissance, Italy has been supplying France not only with several conceptual notions (cf. for example the importance of Padua school for the French Libertine current), but also with numerous works and ‘models’. For instance, for the «bonnes manières», the prototype of the «courtier» plays a crucial role: in France there is a wide spread of Italian behaviour manuals (it is worth mentioning the success of Civil Conversazione by Stefano Guazzo, of Galateo by Giovanni Della Casa, and of Cortegiano by Baldassarre Castiglione), which have deeply contributed to the elaboration of the ideal of honesty, of the principle of politeness, and of the rules of propriety.

The notions of «honest» and «honesty» are connected to the concept of «bonnes manières» (good manners), and they are almost always associated to the profile of the perfect courtier; they play a fundamental role in France during the whole 17th century, as witnessed by the founding work of Nicolas Faret, L’Honneste homme (Paris, T. du Bray, 1630), and its numerous emulators, such as L’Honnête femme by Jacques Du Bosc (Paris, Billaine, 1632), L’Honneste fille, L’Honneste Mariage and L’Honneste garçon by François de Grenaille, between 1639 and 1642, etc.

The words «honest» and «honesty» englobe several notions, and they are associated to the concepts of «propriety» « politeness» and «courtesy», as indicated by the following definitions supplied by Furetière in his Dictionnaire universel (1690):


BIENSEANCE s.f. Ce qui convient à une chose, qui luy donne de la grace, de l’agréement. Il est de la bienseance de se tenir decouvert et en une posture honneste devant les Grands et les Dames. La bienseance exige de nous plusieurs devoirs et civilitez. Il faut en toutes choses observer les bienseances. (p. 228)


HONNESTE adj. m. et f. Ce qui merite de l’estime, de la loüange, à cause qu’il est raionnable, selon les bonnes mœurs.

On le dit premierement de l’homme de bien, du galant homme, qui a pris l’air du monde, qui sçait vivre. Faret a fait un livre de l’honneste homme, le Pere du Bosc un de l’honneste femme ; Grenaille un de l’honneste fille et de l’honneste garçon, qui contiennent des instructions pour ces personnes-là. Il ne faut hanter que d’honnestes gens.

Honneste Femme, si dit particulierement de celle qui est chaste, prude et modeste, qui se donne aucune occasion de parler d’elle, ni même de la soupçonner.


HONNESTETÉ. s.f. Pureté de mœurs. […] les regles de l’honnesteté sont les regles de la bienseance, des bonnes mœurs, l’honnesteté des femmes, c’est la chasteté, la modestie, la pudeur, la retenuë. L’honnesteté des hommes, est une manière d’agir juste, sincere, courtoise, obligeante, civile. (p. 1037)


POLITESSE s.f. conduite honneste, civile er agreable dans les mœurs, dans les manieres d’agir et d’escrire. (p. 1265)


These definitions show some examples of the different semantic aspects and fields (social, public, moral and literary) considered within the notion of «honesty»; they are linked to the topic of women and highlight some major values, such as modesty, prudishness, restraint. The dictionaries of this century reveal that the question of feminine declination of the notion of «honesty» is particularly rich and complex, with some debates on women’s access to knowledge and on the content of their education: profane knowledge, such as music, history, philosophy (cf. L’honnête femme by Du Bosc, 1632), logic, physics, rhetoric, Greec, Latin, Italian, Spanish, cosmography (cf. L’Honnête fille by Grenaille, 1639).



The aim of this interdisciplinary congress is to question as more widely as possible on the concept and the practices of honesty. The main pillars proposed are the following:

- an analysis of the meanings and uses of the notion of honesty along the 17th century. A study of transfer and reappropriations of the Italian ‘models’ in France starting from the prototype of the «courtier» will be a relevant aspect of these questions ;

- an exploration of transformations of male honesty, female honesty, girls’ honesty, boys’ honesty, etc. The question of the relation established between the topic of honesty and the topic of women (education, manners, social codes etc.) is the most relevant. It will be necessary to study the different aspects on books and debates about honesty, from the pedagogical field to the moral and literary fields. The presence and the role of these questions in fictional literature will be a crucial point to consider;

- an examination of the relations between the model of honesty and the sociability practices of the time. The matter of duplicity, including that of dishonest (and therefore of literary characters who are not concerned about the notion of honesty), will be some of the major topics;

- a reflection – starting from the notion of honesty – on the International Republic of Letters (16th – 18th century). From a point of view of «méditerranéité» and cosmopolitanism, some ‘configurations’ of the Grand siècle beyond France (just before and after the 17th century) will be supplied.


Abstracts proposals (in French or in English), of about 300 words, have to be sent by the 15th October 2017 to the following address: nasscfl2018@gmail.com


Session proposals (in French or in English), with or without speakers, are welcome and have to be sent by the 10th October 2017 to the following address: nasscfl2018@gmail.com


Scientific committee:

Mathilde Bombart (Université de Lyon3), Gilles Declercq (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Dominique Descotes (Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand II), Giovanni Dotoli (Università di Bari Aldo Moro et Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne), Perry Gethner (Oklahoma State University), Marcella Leopizzi (Università del Salento), Christine Pioffet (Université York de Toronto), Christine Probes (University South Florida), Jean Pruvost (Université de Cergy-Pontoise), Alain Rey (Éditions Le Robert), Rainer Zaiser (Universität zu Kiel).