Mirrors are mesmerizing. The rhetorical figure that represents a mirror is called a chiasmus, a pattern derived from the Greek letter X (Chi). This pattern applies to sentences such as ¿one does not live to eat; one eats to live.¿ It is found in myths, plays, poems, biblical songs, short stories, novels, epics. Numerous studies have dealt with repetition, difference, and Narcissism in the fields of literature, music, and art. But mirror structures, per se, have not received systematic notice. This book analyses mirror imagery, scenes, and characters in French prose texts, in chronological order, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. It does so in light of literal, metaphoric, and rhetorical structures. Works analysed in the traditional French canon, written by such writers as Laclos, Lafayette, and Balzac, are extended by studies of texts composed by Barbey d¿Aurevilly, Georges Rodenbach, Jean Lorrain, and Pieyre de Mandiargues. This work appeals to readers interested in linguistics, French history, psychology, art, and material culture. It invites analyses of historical and ideological contexts, rhetorical strategies, symmetry and asymmetry. Ovid¿s Narcissus and Alice in Wonderland are paradigms for the study of micro and macro-structures. Analyses of mirrors as cultural artefacts are significant to Lowrie¿s sight seeing. Joyce O. Lowrie has taught French language and literature at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, USA since 1966. She received her Ph.D. at Yale University, and has received numerous honors that include a Fulbright Grant, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, a Camargo Foundation at Cassis, France, a Wesleyan Project Grant, and various grants from the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund at Wesleyan University. She has published The Violent Mystique (Droz), a biography of André Pieyre de Mandiargues in Literature in the 20th Century (Frederich Ungar Publishing Co.), a chapter on Mandiargues in The Fantastic in World Literature and the Arts (Greenwood Press), numerous articles on 19th and 20th century French authors in refereed journals. She has spent many years in France doing research, teaching, and directing Wesleyan University¿s Program in Paris.
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