Somaize and Sorel

J. Warshaw
1915 Modern Language Review  
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more » ... n the Modern Language Review for July, 19141, Mr Walther Fischer offers some suggestive comment on my studies of Somaize and Sorel2. He concludes that the two men compiled the Dictionnaire des Pretieuses in collaboration, and that they parted company because Sorel became dissatisfied with Somaize's gross exaggerations3. Apparently the circumstantial evidence presented in my articles concerning the non-existence of Somaize and his probable identity with Charles Sorel has seemed unconvincing to Mr Fischer, and he proposes the alternative hypothesis mentioned above. I should, indeed, be glad to assent to his view if he had adduced any proof in support of the acceptance of Somaize as an actual person of the seventeenth century. None, however, has been forthcoming, and I am compelled to hold to my original supposition, with but a slight modification. Until that supposition is rendered untenable, it is of importance to know that Sorel and Somaize may have been one and the same person, not only for the light shed on Somaize's testimony relative to the precieuses and what they represented; not only for the proper comprehension of Sorel's true attitude toward preciosite'; but also, and even more, for the bearing on such works as Roederer's4, Livet's5, Magne's6, and on the innumerable references to Somaize scattered through the historical, critical, and sociological treatises relating to the period of Louis XIV. The moment that one reputable witness of his own day can be produced to vouch for the existence of Somaize, my theory will become null and void. It is unthinkable that a witness of this kind cannot be found among the 700 garrulous precieux and precieuses of whom he appears to have had an intimate knowledge, or among the many literary men and Academicians with whom he was acquainted. Mr Fischer names no such person. Another phase of the problem consists in the correct identification of Somaize-assuming that he was a fictitious character. A wide latitude would be allowable, for presumably several seventeenth-1
doi:10.2307/3712955 fatcat:4iabjie5kjezzlm4edg53bhhwa