decided this was Saint-Just's month, here I post something related to him.
I tried to translate one of Saint-Just’s early texts, which he wrote around April 1789, after Organt
. I say "tried", because some parts of Saint-Just’s writing can be very obscure
in French, so the translating work makes it just a lot worse. Thus I tried to give this text as much sense as it could... judging from what I understood of it.
The context of it is another very obscure thing. Abensour and Kupiec present it this way, in the Œuvres complètes
: “ The decision which condemned Guillaume Kornmann
and gave reason to his wife shocked public opinion. This woman had a lover she financially supported – who was named Daudet – and for this, her husband had her arrested and locked up. In this case, Beaumarchais defended the accused woman's side.
The facts themselves are not what interest Saint-Just the most, but rather the sense of the verdict. This decision was very far from the use of reason and resulted from the state in which royalty, nobility and clergy were. This is precisely through this parable that Saint-Just explains the failure of reason.
This short text is both in continuity and in rupture with Organt
. Folly, foolishness, hypocrisy represent the morality of the Court and of the Church, which are still denounced by Saint-Just, but the Third Estate itself doesn’t escape from the critics, inspired from cynicism, illustrated by the presence of Reason at the morgue. But the evocation of the future reunion of the Estates General introduces a connection to reality which is no longer masked, as in Organt
A lot of political references which are difficult to understand then. Nevertheless, the subject is very interesting: the death of Reason
. Modern theme, isn't it? Actually, it's one of the themes I love to speak about very often...( La Raison à la morne, by Saint-Just (1789). )