Madeleine Vigneron (1628-1667)
La vie et la conduite spirituelle de Mademoiselle M. Vigneron. Suivant les mémoires qu’elle en a laissez par l’ordre de son directeur (M. Bourdin). [Arranged and edited by him.].
Paris: Chez Pierre de Launay, 1689. $3,200
Octavo 7 x 4 3/4 inches ã8 e8 A-2R8 (2R8 blank). Second and preferred edition first published in 1679.This copy is bound in contemporary brown calf, five raised bands on spine, gilt floral tools in the compartments, second compartment titled in gilt; corners and spine extremities worn; three old joint repairs; on the front binder’s blank is an early ownership four-line inscription in French dated 1704, of
Sister Monique Vanden Heuvel, at the priory of Sion de Vilvoorde (Belgium). Overall a fine copy.
This is the stirring journal that Madeleine Vigneron , member of the Third Order of the Minims of St. Francis of Paola, she began to keep it in 1653 and continued until her premature death, (1667) It was first published in 1679 and again in the present second, and final, edition which is more complete than the first. Added are Madeleine’s series of 78 letters representing her spiritual correspondence.
In these autobiographical writings, which were collected and published by her Director, the Minim Matthieu Bourdin, Madeleine speaks of the illnesses that plagued her since childhood and greatly handicapped her throughout a life that she dedicated to God by caring for the poor. She received admirable lights on the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, on the mysteries of the spiritual life. The hagiographers have remarked her austerity, her patience, her insatiable desire to suffer for God. Those who knew her perceived in her a virtuous life that impressed them.
A very rare book: the combined resources of NUC and OCLC locate only one copy in America, at the University of Dayton which also holds the only American copy of the 1679 edition.
§ Cioranescu 66466 (the 1679 edition).
Carr, Thomas M., “A Checklist of Published Writings in French by Early Modern Nuns” (2007). French Language and Literature Papers. 52.
” Madeleine Vigneron (1628-1667), whose autobiographical writings were published in 1679, was astonished at such a disconnect between the knowledge produced by writing and the actual ignorance in which finds that her writing about her childhood tells her:
- 68 Madeleine Vigneron , Life and spiritual conduct of Madelène Vigneron, sister of the Tiers- (…)
[…] my memory does not represent to me an infinity of things that I find here lying down, that so many operations so rare and so interior, and in such a small age! who can hardly believe it; For me, I confess to having no knowledge of it except that which is given to me by these writings: that is why if the whole is true, I must certainly tremble for fear of having been so unfaithful after having received so many graces 68 .
In this disjunction between the character and the narrator is added, in the writings of Claudine Moine, an uncertainty that weighs on the narrative instance itself, which reveals itself only as a channel singularly absent to itself in the act of telling. The “words” that flow from the “ray of light” to the “paper” pass through the narrator without leaving him with a clear “impression” because “they are erased from [his] mind”. The metatextual conclusion of the fourth relation still involves the “ray” of this infused light that made narration possible, without the narrator being able to attest to the reality of it:
- 69 Cl. Moine , op. cit. , 4th relation, p. 453.
[…] a ray of light led me little by little, and that did not serve me to make me think about the things said, of which I immediately lost the memory, but only those which remained to me, and which were to me Myself unknown and hidden, as they are now, just as if they had not passed through my mind.
- 70 Ibid.
The “radius of clarity” produces a writing without knowing and a knowledge without writing: on the one hand, it allows the written statement of “things said” but immediately forgotten; on the other hand, it provides the narrator with a reflexive intelligence on these enigmatic “things that remained to me”, contemporary to the narration, which have not, however, been the subject of any enunciation. In the present of the metatextual enunciation, this knowledge has disappeared: these “things” not said are “now” “unknown and hidden” to the very one who knew them. All the knowledge of the narration is lost. The hypothesis put forward that these “things” have not “passed by the spirit” of the woman who knew them without telling them, nor by the spirit of the one who told them without knowing them, contributes to reinforce this device of mutual exclusion between knowledge and narration. According to this device, writing is the only repository of knowledge that the narrator is not able to recognize, although it concerns her, which tends to make the subject telling and telling a fiction whose radius of clarity would be the true author. It can not therefore be Claudine Moine to attest to the reality of the “conduct” that God held on her, but, as for Madeleine Vigneron, it is her writings: “These writings are good proofs. ” 70 she writes of the effects that Jesus produces in her through her confessor, while she remains, for her part, a stranger to what she tells.
According to this device, writing is the only repository of knowledge that the narrator is not able to recognize, although it concerns her, which tends to make the subject telling and telling a fiction whose radius of clarity would be the true author. It can not therefore be Claudine Moine to attest to the reality of the “conduct” that God held on her, but, as for Madeleine Vigneron, it is her writings: “These writings are good proofs. ” 70 she writes of the effects that Jesus produces in her through her confessor, while she remains, for her part, a stranger to what she tells.
- 71 J. Le Brun , “Refusal of ecstasy and the assumption of writing in modern mysticism”, Savoirs et (…)
- 72 Ibid. , p. 43.
- 73 Francis de Sales , Treatise on the Love of God , op. cit. , liv. VII, chap. VI, p. 681-684, who after (…)
- 74 A historical phenomenon brought to light by S. Houdard , “False saints to spiritual (…)
- 75 Philippe Lejeune , The Autobiographical Pact , Paris, Seuil, coll. “Points”, 1996, p. 27-35.
- 76 The spiritual contract that the character of Claudine Moine seals with God in the first relationship, op (…)
17This narrative solution to the problem of the writing of ecstasy is what Jacques Le Brun called, in reference to Madame Guyon writing her Torrents and her Explanations of the Bible, “writing as ecstasy and self- esteem. “If ecstasy can not be seen or observed in the order of the senses or thought, it can only be” written “in a writing that will not say the exit of oneself but that will be out of self 72 . The realization of ecstasy in writing appears as an extension of the becoming-invisible of ecstasy during the modern period. Encouraged by the invention of the Teresian spiritual marriage and the ecstasies of life and action of civil devotion, 73 this evolution allows ecstasy to conform to a general movement of mistrust towards spectacular forms of devotion, noticed by J. Le Brun in the same text 74 .
Clément Duyck, « Extase sans savoir et écriture de l’extase (France, xviie siècle) », Les Dossiers du Grihl [En ligne], Les dossiers de Sophie Houdard, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2017, consulté le 13 mai 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/dossiersgrihl/6740
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