ePub Port-Royal ePub

by Henry de Montherlant

Henri de Montherlant's Port-Royal is a great classic about the conflict experienced when an authority that one believes must be respected comes into conflict with a philosophy or theology that one believes to be correct.The entire play takes place at the time of the persecution of Port-Royal (1648–1652), a Cistercian convent in a suburb of Paris.

In 1640, Augustinus by Cornelius Jansen a priest and professor at the Catholic University of Louvain was published posthumously.Jansen developed a theological position very similar to that of St. Augustine's even more famous disciple Jean Calvin. Notably Jansen advocated a very rigorous personal lifestyle and supported the notion of predestination.

The goal of Jansenists was not to break with Rome but to convert Roman Catholicism to their point of view.Jansenism rapidly gained a wide following in the church although the bishops and Jesuits fought it with all their energy.

The head of the Port-Royal convent Sr. Angelique was a very strong willed and determined woman.Her convent became the leading centre of Jansenism in France until she finally died in 1661.The remaining nuns all eventually signed a document in which they formally renounced at the 5 propositions in the writings of Jansen deemed to be heretical.

The Port Royal Persecution was essentially a minor matter and might have been forgotten except for one of the students who attended a school run by the Port Royal couvent, Jean Racine.Racine would go on to become the leading dramatist of his day and in the opinion of many the greatest dramatist in the history of French literature.

Racine found a natural affinity between Jansenist/Calvinist predestination and omnipotent fate from classical antiquity.Consequently he wrote several masterpieces most notably Phedre in which a story or play from Classical Greece is recast in Jansenist terms.

This play obviously hastrouble finding an audience.It deals with a somewhat arcane theological controversy of the Roman Catholic Church which creates a barrier for non-Catholic.Since it sides with the heretics, it is also problematic for the Catholics.

Perhaps one simply has to read it as a tale of a courageous intellectual who picks a fight with an autocratic institution that she is doomed to lose.

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File info

Book Title
Book Author
PublisherGallimard Education
Release date 01.11.1972
Pages count192
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
File size3.5 Mb
Book rating3.33 (6 votes)
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