N.2/2021 Filosofia e generi letterari nel XVIII secolo
Sviluppo di un genere letterario e filosofico nel XVIII secolo: il “romanzo politico” o la filosofia politica narrativa
Colas Dulfo e Ariane Revel
Published in December, 2021
Development of a literary and philosophical genre in the 18th century: the ‘political novel’ or narrative political philosophy.
In the late seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century, the ‘political novel’ emerged both as a genre of political philosophy and as a sub-category of the novelistic genre. This article attempts to show the distinctions that define this genre, considered as such by its contemporaries and identifiable through a series of distinctive markers. Belonging to philosophy “by fiction” rather than “by diction”, and to a “narrative” rather than “discursive” or “descriptive” modality of philosophical writing, the political novel constitutes a specific way of posing and treating questions of politics in the context of absolute monarchy, through different schemes that constitute as many sub-genres identifiable by the reader, but also through their hybridisation. Between reformist optimism and scepticism, the political novel confronts in particular the problem of knowledge of the singular. By staging the development, decadence or reform of political societies, it seeks to articulate the principles of government and historical temporality. However, by often recounting the singular adventures of heroes who compare, judge and experiment, it also invites the reader to reflect on the ways in which political knowledge is acquired, and on its limits.
political novel, Fiction, Reform, Skepticism, Comparison.