Playful Institutions: Social and Textual Practices in Early Spanish Academies [chapter]

Stephanie Bung, Toni Bernhart, Jaša Drnovšek, Sven Thorsten Kilian, Joachim Küpper, Jan Mosch
2018 Poetics and Politics  
When the members of the very young Académie Française acted officially for the first time ever, that is, as representatives of a chartered corporation, they immediately overstepped the boundaries of their self-defined jurisdiction: they broke their own rules by taking sides in the context of the famous Querelle du Cid. In 1637 they published their statement Les sentiments de l'académie française sur la tragi-comédie du Cid, which led Corneille to make some significant changes to his play.
more » ... g back, these changes and Les Sentiments de l'académie represent the beginning of the doctrine classique, the most fundamental doctrine of poetics in seventeenth-century France. But Corneille was not a member of the academy and he had not asked for his successful play to be judged. The academy intervened anyway, even though their statutes only allowed for judging the work of members. 1 Interestingly enough, this act of 'misbehaving' -from the viewpoint of the academic rules -was followed by an act of recognition by the authorities: a few months after the outbreak of the Querelle du Cid, the Parlement de Paris acknowledged the Académie Française as an established corporation within the realm of Louis XIII. 2 This recognition is arguably even more interesting than the well known fact that it was of course the cardinal de Richelieu who forced the academy to intervene in this struggle. The members of the oldest and most powerful corporation of France acknowledged the institutional status of the academy, and in doing so they acknowledged the public relevance, and a certain autonomy, of 'academic concerns.' As scholars have shown within the last two decades, 3 the Querelle du Cid is a fine example of the transformation European academies had to go through when they first became chartered literary institutions. However, the picture of those transformations is far from complete. In order to grasp its complexity, it 1 See article XLV of the academy's statutes (www.academie-francaise.fr/linstitution/statuts-etreglements. Accessed 13 February 2018). 2 See ibid.: "Lettres patentes pour l'établissement de l'Académie française, signées du roi Louis XIII en janvier 1635, enregistrées au Parlement le 10 juillet 1637." (My italics.
doi:10.1515/9783110536690-009 fatcat:7pxxipbb45fp5bd7dofpflx3pe