DOI link for Eighteenth-Century Histoires
Eighteenth-Century Histoires book
Marivaux's Marianne, a middle-aged countess, is at the same time self-deprecating and triumphantly assertive. In Marivaux's novel, published between 1731 and 1737, Marianne progresses from being the ward of a village cure and his sister to being the favourite of the aristocratic Mme de Miran and the fiancee of her son Valville. Her remark 'J'ai beaucoup a dire' seems to hint at revelations to come, but perhaps means no more than that she has a long story to tell. Marianne tries hard to convey the idea that only with time does one really understand what one has experienced, and in theory this notion is easy to accept: the growth of wisdom is based on the experience of living, which allows meaning to emerge from reflections on previous events. Marianne's presentation of narrative memory at times obscures the degree of her girlish understanding, it also disguises the extent to which the 'older' and 'younger' perspectives combine.