Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Leclerc, Jean


This dissertation falls within the scope of a number of socio-literary studies published since Alain Viala’s La Naissance de l’écrivain (1985). According to Viala, the “author” is the professional incarnation of the writer (in the mechanical sense of “scribe”). He is recognisable by his participation in the Republic of Letters and his validation by the various socio-political structures of his era (academies, salons, paying public, critics, printers). To be considered an author, or a professional man of letters, one must successfully emancipate oneself from purely intellectual milieus in order to build networks that allow for competition. Contrary to Viala’s assertion that the professional author is born in the French neo-classical era, in this dissertation, it is argued that pre-academic playwrights (c. 1610-1640) demonstrate their awareness of the extant and growing hierarchies of their field, the social purpose of their profession, and the aesthetic value of their works. Over the course of the pre-academic era, playwrights increasingly meet the criteria of the professional author.