Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Moralist literature
(1,308 words)

1. Definition

At its first appearance in 1690 in Antoine Furetière’s Dictionnaire universel, the term moraliste (“moralist”) simply meant an author who treated moral questions. By around 1700, however, the pejorative secondary meaning “rigorist” had been coined, referring specifically to adherents of Jansenism. Volume 10 of the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D’Alembert once more denigrated the moralist, defining him in 1765 as a vain, unsystematic littérateur aiming …

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Walther, Gerrit, “Moralist literature”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 15 April 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_024285>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128



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