Logan J. Connors
“Initiators of Discursive Practices”
Authorship, Attribution, and Intent in the Debates between Philosophes and Anti- philosophes (1760)1
In his seminal work, L’œil vivant, Jean Starobinski theorizes on how pseudonymity— the false attribution of authorship— affects a reader. He writes: “Lorsqu’un homme se masque ou se revêt d’un pseud-onyme, nous nous sentons défi és. Cet homme se refuse à nous. Et en revanche nous voulons savoir.”2 It is probable that Starobinski, a master at looking at the pourquoi behind writers (in this case, he is examining Stendhal), meant “readers” by “nous” in “nous nous sen-tons defi és” and “the author’s name” by the word “savoir” in “nous voulons savoir.” Starobinski gestures towards a type of miscommu-nication between the author’s intent and the reader’s desires. Specifi c miscommunications between readers and writers, as I see it, provide intriguing contexts to examine more general problems in literary criti-cism and its history.
What follows is an attempt to show the unintended magnitude of Starobinski’s comment on pseudonymity both in the specifi c context of Voltaire’s 1760 staging of the play, Le café ou l’Écossaise, and in larger debates in the emerging fi elds of anonymity, pseudonymity, and attribution studies. Voltaire’s use of multiple pseudonyms before and after releasing L’Ecossaise, a comédie sérieuse in which Voltaire attacks his enemy Elie- Cathérine Fréron, supports his philosophe friends at a crucial moment in history, and exemplifi es his taste for serious comedy and British drama calls into question traditional takes on pseudonymity, anonymity, and attribution by refusing to fi t into the binary arguments of anonymous vs. attributed, and authorial intent vs. the reader’s control. As we shall see, a network of competing interests beyond Voltaire’s sought to control, manipulate, and even initiate a host of discourses about the play.
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Over the next few pages, I will analyze the function of pseudonym-ity within the specifi city of 1760 France— at the peak of a cultural war between philosophes and anti- philosophes, between authors or sup-porters of the Encyclopédie and their numerous detractors. After hav-ing underlined the individuality of L’Ecossaise, my goal is to then examine Voltaire’s use of pseudonyms against the backdrop of a more contemporary debate on authorship and anonymity: the fi erce dis-agreement between post- structuralist critics and their recent detrac-tors over the value, and even the possibility, of attributing authorial intent to a literary work.3 Through a careful reassessment of Michel Foucault’s concept of attribution in “What is an Author?,” I will then conclude by offering a meeting point— a place of joint critical investigation— between post- structuralist scholars, who sometimes ignore the historical specifi city of literary reception, and recent attri-bution scholars, who sometimes determine the value of a literary work by that work’s adherence to or divergence from rigid ideas of literary norms or an author’s “voice” during a given, historical epoch.
The study of pseudonymity as a social act— an interpersonal, often confl ictual competition to lend meaning to a work between at least two people— merits just as much critical inquiry as attempts to uncover a rational reason— the authorial intent— behind pseudonymic practice. By studying pseudonymity as inherently social, scholars at present could provide a complementary angle to studies that ask: “who really wrote this text?” or “why did he or she use a pseudonym?”— studies that still fi ll the pages of academic journals today and that often (and in this critic’s opinion, overly) simplify the complexities of a writer’s various motivations and a reader’s multiple processes of interpretation.
In France, the middle of the eighteenth century was a tumultuous period in the Republic of Letters. Despite the early popular successes of philosophe works like Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1750) and Jean- Jacques Rousseau’s Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi des hommes (1754), the intellec-tual climate became decidedly anti- philosophique4 during the second half of the 1750s. The setbacks suffered by philosophes were numer-ous: Rousseau parted ways with the clan after the Encyclopédie article “Genève” appeared, which criticized religious and theatrical practices in Rousseau’s home canton. Exasperated, d’Alembert stepped down
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as the work’s editor; the Encyclopédie lost its royal printing permit, and thus to a great degree, its pedagogical raison d’être; Pope Clem-ent XIII condemned the collection, ordered its contributors excommu-nicated and copies of the work to be burned.
The philosophes’ problems went beyond their polemical Encyclo-pédie. Philosophe infl uence over literary criticism took a blow when Jean- François Marmontel lost his editorial position at the Mercure de France over a spat with governmental higher ups in December 1759. The group suffered institutional bullying when the Voltaire- hating Lefranc de Pompignan was elected to the Académie française in March 1760 and gave an induction speech distinguishing French citi-zens from the “secte philosophique.”5 On the dramatic front, several sources accused Diderot of plagiarizing Le fi ls naturel— a work that claimed a status as philosophe theater, par excellence; and, perhaps the worst, or at the very least, the most public event, Charles Palissot’s Les Philosophes— a nasty little number which hoisted Diderot, Rous-seau, Helvétius and other philosophes up onto the stage as characters at the Comédie- Française—premiered in early May 1760, and it was a tremendous success.6
Philosophes had their backs up against the wall and here is where pseudonymity enters the picture. Palissot’s comedy premiered on May 3 and reports indicate that a week later, an illegal version John Home’s (Voltaire’s) Le Caffé ou l’Ecossaise had entered Parisian circles and would be staged later in the summer.7 Then, just 2 days before the premiere of L’Ecossaise at the Comédie- Française,8 Voltaire pub-lished an illegal pamphlet, À messieurs les parisiens, using the name Jérôme Carré, Home’s French “translator.” Voltaire’s pseudonym use was two- fold: he hid behind both a Scottish dramatist and a French translator.9 Not stopping his attempt to hide his identity there, Voltaire constructed a tightly knit pseudonymous narrative by insisting in his correspondence10 that he had not penned L’Ecossaise and by adopting a remarkably different tone in his dramatic script when compared to his previous serious comedies.11
When Voltaire published a version of his play before the premiere— already a very strange practice for the time— only a few people knew that the philosophe had penned L’Ecossaise. Charles Collé, a dramatist and critic who knew the theater world like the back of his hand, wrote that even though he had heard a “rumor” that Voltaire had penned this
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“scandalous” comedy, the play’s style resembled “à celui de Diderot. C’est à peu près la manière dont est dialogué le Fils naturel et le Père de famille.”12 Collé was no stranger to the stage. In his encyclope-dic Journal historique ou Mémoires critiques, he reviews hundreds of performances, dramatic pamphlets, parodies, libelles, and tracts about theater. Collé’s confusion between Voltaire and Diderot— between France’s greatest living dramatist at the time and Diderot who, at this point, had never seen one of his plays performed at a public venue— indicates that Voltaire’s pseudonym was successful among at least some of the theatrical world’s main participants.
As with most pseudonymous situations, perhaps it is best to start by asking the question: “why did the author choose to use a pseud-onym?” In his critical edition of L’Ecossaise, Colin Duckworth pos-its the following theory for Voltaire’s attribution of the play to John Home, a real- life, popular Scottish tragedian living in London: “For a number of very good reasons. Home’s Douglas had had a resounding success at Covent Garden in 1757 . . . John Home was, therefore, ‘in the news,’ an active and successful playwright whose name on a title- page would attract the public.”13
Duckworth’s reasoning for Voltaire’s pseudonymity falls nicely in line with the philosophes’ cosmopolitan narrative— their claims that dramatic authors could fi nd adequate theatrical examples from across the Channel or from the other side of the Alps,14 and not only from Antiquity or from France’s seventeenth- century “big three”: Corneille, Racine, and Molière. Duckworth argues that Parisian spectators would have not only recognized Voltaire’s tip of the hat to Scottish tragedy, but also that this would have been precisely the kind of theater that audiences in France would have enjoyed in 1760.15
But was Voltaire’s fi ctitious Home attribution an act of sheer pub-licity— a way to bolster ticket sales or critical “bruit”? It is plausible that a savvy sliver of the audience would have swooned at Home’s name. Douglas and Agis (another of Home’s tragedies) were cer-tainly hits in London, but they were also tragedies written in verse, not comédies sérieuses or even, (dare we say) drames like L’Ecossaise.16 Parisian critics quickly pointed out that John Home was not the author of L’Ecossaise. The philosophe literary critic Melchior Grimm dis-pelled that rumor as early as June 1, 1760, and Fréron, the voice of
Connors: Authorship, Attribution, and Intent / 19
literary anti- philosophie quickly pointed out that Home would never have written L’Ecossaise in his fi rst critique of the play.17
If we posit for a second that Voltaire’s use of pseudonymity was not just an attempt to render his comedy more English— not just an aesthetic refl ection on contemporary theater— what are some other possible motivations behind the pseudonym? And perhaps more importantly, how effective was Voltaire’s attempt at remaining uniden-tifi able? In short, did the “public” know?
There is that dangerous word— the “public.” As contested in the eighteenth century as it is in more recent times, the “public” plays an important role both in this specifi c pseudonymic case and in attri-bution studies in general. Uncovering a few meanings of the term “public” in 1760 helps elucidate either a) why Voltaire went to great lengths to keep his secret or b) why Voltaire’s pseudonym was nothing more than a rhetorical farce.
Voltaire’s pseudonymity stems from his ambivalence toward two “publics” of increasing importance precisely in 1760: the philosophes, who, at this point, were striving to bury slight disagreements in order to form a unifi ed front against anti- philosophe aggression;18 and the-atergoers, who, in the context of the debate between philosophes and anti- philosophes, emerged as critical participants— critical in the sense of crucial and in the sense of judging— in a game of persuasion and courting. Voltaire shows this concerted effort to persuade theatergoers most obviously with À messieurs les parisiens— a pamphlet specifi -cally designed to reach the spectators before they attended the com-edy’s premiere.19 Showing his ambivalence to this theatergoing public, however, the philosophe paradoxically criticizes the current tastes of theatergoers, and especially, the emerging sphere of critical journal-ism and public opinion, in his dramatic text and correspondence.20
Theater was an important arena for intellectual debate in eighteenth- century France. During a battle which saw the gradual crystallization of two opposing forces and the rising importance of theater as a social event,21 theatergoers emerged as the new docte— the new judge— who dramatists needed to placate, even if that meant sidelining more “important” theatrical projects.22 By 1760, Voltaire had already com-mitted to taking up the philosophe cause on multiple discursive fronts23 but he still viewed himself as an “homme de théâtre.” He was unsure about the quality of L’Ecossaise and he felt uncomfortable— despite
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what he says in his preface— defending Diderotian concepts of drama in his own dramatic script.24 This may explain Voltaire’s desire to cre-ate a “Scottish” lineage for his play instead of admitting its place as an “œuvre de circonstance” in the history of French literary polemics or as a continuation of his own experiments in serious comedy. Aesthetic ambivalence: a possible reason for pseudonymity, but impossible to confi rm.
But let us continue with the assertion that the importance of attri-bution studies lies in the analysis of pseudonymity as a conscious act— an act of authorial intent. It is easy to then see how Voltaire’s authorial intent to remain anonymous diverged from certain readers’ intentions to reveal the author of L’Ecossaise— this purported “riposte philosophique.” Who “outed” Voltaire— when could theatergoers, phi-losophes, and others have realized that Voltaire wrote L’Ecossaise? And perhaps more importantly (and slightly diverging from traditional attribution studies), why is the process of “outing” important for this case and for attribution studies in general?
In the June 15 edition of La Correspondance littéraire, philos-ophique et critique, Grimm writes, “Vous lirez avec plaisir le Café, ou l’écossaise, comédie en cinq actes et en prose, traduite de l’anglais de M. Hume [sic], qui ne l’a jamais faite, par M. de Voltaire, qui en est le véritable auteur.”25 In one sense, the gig was up as Grimm tears off Voltaire’s pseudonymous mask, asserting him as the author of this most decidedly philosophe play. The process of “outing”— the clear-ing up of a pseudonym by a reader— provides a different avenue for research on authorship and attribution. The analysis of this social side of pseudonymity— its importance not only as an authorial act but as a grounds for competition among confl icting voices reveals just as much about pseudonymic practice as any concerted effort to assert why an author hides behind a fake name.
Starobinski’s idea that “Lorsqu’un homme se masque ou se revêt d’un pseudonyme, nous nous sentons défi és. Cet homme se refuse à nous. Et en revanche nous voulons savoir,” produces a new set of rela-tionships between the reader and the writer when examined through a more reader- focused, more social lens. In the case of Grimm’s attri-bution of L’Ecossaise to Voltaire, Starobinski’s “nous” is no longer readers in general, but the philosophic party, the “petit troupeau” that had been attacked by Palissot, Fréron, Lefranc de Pompignan, Poin-
Connors: Authorship, Attribution, and Intent / 21
sinet de Sivry, and others.26 Shortly after the premiere of Les Philos-ophes, Palissot published his correspondence with Voltaire in which the “Patriarch of Ferney” had nothing but positive things to say about Palissot’s comedy.27 Fearing division in the ranks, Grimm asserts not only that Voltaire is the author of L’Ecossaise, but also, that he is with “us” and not with “them.”
Starobinski’s “savoir” in “nous voulons savoir” goes beyond a desire to know the author’s name. In this case, Grimm wants to know if, after understanding that his name has become public, Voltaire will drop the pseudonym, let go of the ambivalence, join the front, and lead a philosophe charge against intellectual and institutional adver-saries. But Voltaire did not own up and kept his pseudonymity even after the play had been performed at the Comédie- Française. In fact, Voltaire only explicitly referred to himself as the author when a more “normal” play— a more honorable piece of literature— the tragedy, Tancrède, was slated for performance at the Comédie- Française in August 1760.28
The authorial- intent question “why the pseudonym?” becomes more and more diffi cult to answer. Voltaire’s fl ip- fl opping intellec-tual stance? Fear of censorship? Concern about dramatic reputation? Desire to eschew anti- philosophique revenge? Yes, maybe, diffi cult to say. Writers have postulated various reasons behind anonymity and pseudonymity for centuries. In fact, nearly ten days before the pre-miere of L’Ecossaise, Grimm theorized about a few reasons behind an author’s choice to use a pseudonym:
C’est qu’on permet à celui qui se cache de dire plus librement ce qu’il pense. C’est que le gouvernement peut ignorer quand il lui plaît un auteur qui ne se nomme pas. C’est que le public est plus diffi cile sur un ouvrage avoué que sur un ouvrage dont l’auteur fait semblant de se cacher. Il y a une sorte de poésie dans ce mensonge, et la poésie nous plaît toujours.29
Grimm, like Starobinski, concludes his description of pseudonymity by focusing on the reception of that pseudonym by readers. Indeed, he gives several author- based reasons for pseudonymity, but the reasons do not ultimately matter— they all produce the same effect on the public: “un plaisir.” Grimm, by confl ating all of the possible reasons for pseudonymity into one result, tacitly brings up a few questions:
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does it really matter why an author employs pseudonymity? Does it help us understand anything more about an author when we can pinpoint a precise reason behind a pseudonym? And fi nally, does an examination of pseudonymity reveal more about an author or that author’s readership?
In recent times, studies about anonymity and pseudonymity have enjoyed a modest renaissance. Motivated by authorship debates in early- modern British Studies, critics, including the late Anne Ferry, Pat Rogers, Donald Foster and Richard Griffi n, have made attribut-ing authorship to previously anonymous or pseudonymous poems and tracts— or theorizing on pseudonymity and anonymity as a general practice— main foci in their scholarly work.30 In order to justify their sleuthing, these attribution scholars have brought back the importance of authorship from what they viewed as its critical burial by (mainly) French poststructuralist and deconstructionist critics, and especially, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault.31
The famed “forensic linguist,” Donald Foster, particularly laments the durability of Foucault’s take on authorship.32 In his introduction to a series of anti- poststructuralist essays on authorship in New Literary History, Foster breaks down Foucault’s multiple ideas on the author to one notion: that literary authorship did not really exist until the late eighteenth century. Foster writes that “decades after the publication of [Foucault’s] ‘What is an Author?’ it remains a familiar critical move to represent the privileged literary (as opposed to scientifi c) writers of a given historical moment or social milieu as a choir of voices all singing, though sometimes discordantly, sometimes namelessly, to the same tune and key.”33
In his book on the different manifestations of anonymity, Robert Griffi n argues that “the widely accepted narrative put in circulation by Foucault, if not wrong, is not nuanced enough, and thus creates signifi cant distortions and misunderstandings. By the terms of its for-mulation, even if not meaning to, it throws in the shade or tends to ignore a very large fi eld of actual publication practice.”34 Griffi n then goes on, like in the case of attribution studies from previous centuries, to posit several reasons why authors publish anonymously or pseud-onymously, including but not limited to “an aristocratic or a gendered reticence, religious self- effacement, anxiety over public exposure, fear of prosecution, hope of an unprejudiced reception, and the desire to
Connors: Authorship, Attribution, and Intent / 23
deceive.”35 Griffi n readily admits that this list of possible reasons is not exhaustive, but in sum, the goal of many attribution studies is to 1) tease out the specifi c climate of a given anonymous or pseudonymous act in order to 2) attribute authorship through various strategies and 3) proffer a reason behind an author’s choice to employ pseudonymity or anonymity.
Attribution scholars, and especially Donald Foster, have revolution-ized the fi eld of early- modern British literature and brought literary criticism in general into the public spotlight; Foster has bridged enor-mous gaps between dramatic and non- dramatic subfi elds in Renais-sance Studies with his astute attributions. And perhaps most impor-tantly, he has made people care about authorship and attribution as legitimate, even scientifi c subjects of investigation. Foster has pointed out various pre- 1800 moments when, to reverse Foucault’s famous quote from Beckett, it does “matter who’s speaking.”36 Moreover, Fos-ter is correct in saying that new attribution of a work to an author does change our notion of “that author”— whether it be Shakespeare, Vol-taire, or Heidegger.37
But some of the animosity toward Foucault is perhaps misguided; there is more to Foucault’s take on authorship than just the historical argument that readers were not interested in the authorship of literary texts until the period loosely defi ned as the “modern age.” By look-ing at another of Foucault’s defi nitions of authorship, my goal is to perhaps offer a meeting point— a commonplace— between the radi-cal historical specifi city of some attribution scholarship and the often overly universal tendencies of poststructuralist takes on authorship. My argument is not that the attribution criticism most recently mani-fested in Donald Foster and his ilk has misread Foucault, but that to some extent, this group of scholars has chosen what to ignore, and mainly, Foucault’s future- focused concept from “What is an Author?” that certain writers emerge as “initiators of discursive practices.”38
In the last part of his essay, Foucault discusses writers like Freud and Marx, writers who “produced not only their own work, but the possibility and the rules of formation of other texts.”39 Following this logic, a philosopher like Wittgenstein can write against psycho-analysis or Terry Eagleton for the fi eld of cultural studies because of the discourses initiated by Freud and Marx. “Initiators of discursive practices” open up a fi eld for further investigation and more defi n-
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ing, but also, “initiators” allow the possibility for further manipulation and more polemics. Most importantly for our case, Foucault’s con-cept may help explain the tugs and tears over Voltaire’s name and text among eighteenth- century intellectual networks in France.
Going back to the cultural atmosphere hovering over Paris in 1760, it is vital to note that the term “philosophe” was still unsteady, despite the encyclopédistes’ attempts to defi ne the term in the 1750s. Chéneau du Marsais provides one defi nition in his article, “Philosophe”:
Other men are determined to act without feeling, without knowing the causes that make them move, without even imagining that there are any. The philosophe, by contrast, brings causes to light to the degree that he is able, and often even antici-pates them, and surrenders himself to them with full knowledge: he is, so to speak, a clock that sometimes winds itself. Thus he avoids those objects which could cause feelings that are suitable neither to well- being nor to a reasonable being, and seeks those which can excite in him affections suitable to the state in which he fi nds himself. Reason is to the philosophe what grace is to the Christian. Grace determines the action of the Christian; reason determines that of the philosophe. Other men are carried away by their passions, without their actions being preceded by refl ection: these are men who walk in the shadows; whereas the philosophe, even in his passions, acts only after refl ection; he walks in the night, but he is pre-ceded by a torch.40
Du Marsais’s claim that the philosophe uses reason and refl ection to carry a torch of Enlightenment ultimately defeated other takes on the philosophe’s role by 1789. Revolutionaries transferred Voltaire’s ashes to the Pantheon in 1791, not Fréron’s nor the abbé Desfontaines’s.41 But in 1760 the battle had yet to be won; various groups in France had their own defi nitions of the “philosophe”— and not all of them were fl attering.
Borrowing vocabulary from the anti- philosophe Lefranc de Pom-pignan, Palissot announced in his “véritable Préface” to Les Philos-ophes that his enemies were nothing more than members of “une secte impérieuse,” who were putting into place a “despotisme rigoureux sur les sciences, les lettres, les arts et les mœurs,” and who were worst of all “armée du fl ambeau de la philosophie.”42
Philosopher? Encylopédiste? Lumière? Sure, but also Sophiste, Fripon, or even, Diable.43 Grimm, not wanting Palissot’s Les Philos-ophes, Pompignan’s nasty speeches, Fréron’s vituperative criticism,
Connors: Authorship, Attribution, and Intent / 25
or (heaven forbid) the Jesuits to construct the philosophes identity for the public, brought the “Patriarch of Ferney” into a defi ning equation. If the public construed Voltaire as fi rmly implanted in the camp, phi-losophes could rally around a corpus of texts by France’s most famous writer at the time. Grimm’s goal, at this precise moment in history, is to make sure that Voltaire’s name will forever equate “philosophe” and to assert that Voltaire is a more powerful defi ner, a more pow-erful “initiator [or manipulator] of discursive practices” than com-peting, antagonistic, enemy- authors. Grimm’s use of “Voltaire” is functional— he will plug it into the equation of competing discourses at this moment in French intellectual history and hope the name is enough to sway the “public” to the correct side of intellectual war.44
With Grimm, Foucault or Starobinski, the question begins with “why pseudonymity,” “why anonymity,” or “why authorship?” The investigation then moves, however, to “what is the effect of that act?” And this is precisely where a lot of interest lies in attribution stud-ies. “Did Shakespeare write this work?” or even, “Who wrote Pri-mary Colors?” becomes “What discourses existed in England that pre-vented Shakespeare from owning up to an elegy?” or “What is the nature of a political climate which forces a leftist author to hide under anonymity when critiquing the Democratic Party?”
The “attribution function”— the study of how anonymous strategies affect other people; of how readers compete for control of a name or a work— merits more critical inquiry and does not seem too antago-nistic to a very poststructuralist idea (if you will) that the author exists mainly as a construct of competing readers, competing discourses. As scholars of literature, we do need to look at specifi c cases— we need to see precisely what these competing discourses are saying. But it may not always be necessary to give up on larger narratives in order to focus on the specifi city of a given pseudonymous or anonymous con-text. We can do both.
Foucault fi nishes his essay with a series of questions— not just the famous Beckettian “what matter who’s speaking?” question that contemporary attribution scholars despise so much. Foucault, as in his analysis of “initiators of discourse,” remains focused on opening debates on authorship to further inquiry. He wants to know: “What are the modes of existence of this discourse [discourse on authorship]?” “Where does it come from; how is it circulated; who controls it?”45
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Voltaire, perhaps more than any other eighteenth- century writer in France, recognized a relationship among pseudonymity, authorial intent, and readers. In his essay, “Voltaire and authorship,” Nicolas Cronk argues that:
pseudonyms are part of a game which Voltaire enjoys with his reader. More than that, they refl ect a fragmentation of a single authorial and authoritative voice, an effect that leads us into the heart of the style and form of Voltaire’s writing.46
In short, Voltaire saw the beauty of giving over some of his power to his various readers. Pseudonymous practice, when studied as a social act, depends on a network of readers competing for control. The reasons for anonymity and pseudonymity remain and will often remain outside of our grasps, but one participant in the equation seems consistent, and even trans- historical: the reader and his or her desire to “out” the anonymous author or “set the story straight” about a pseudonym— his or her desire to “do something with” both the writer’s name and the text.
This network of often oppositional forces— here specifi cally, but certainly not limited to Voltaire’s unknown reasons for using pseud-onyms, Grimm’s concerted effort to assert Voltaire as the author of L’Ecossaise, and the anti- philosophes’ desire to construct an iden-tity for their rival clan reveal the specifi city of this case. But also and more generally, this competition to “initiate” reveals an impossible but intriguing meeting place between a writer’s intent and his various readers’ subjectivities.
Notes1. I would like to express my gratitude towards Reginald McGinnis for organizing a panel
on “Voltaire and Anonymity” (American Society for Eighteenth- Century Studies Convention, Vancouver, March 2011), at which I gave an early version of this paper. I am also thankful of Bucknell University’s College of Arts & Sciences and Provost Offi ce for providing the fi nan-cial means to attend the asecs convention and carry out research in Paris in preparation for this article.
2. Jean Starobinski, L’Oeil vivant: La relation critique vol. 1 (Paris: Gallimard, 1968), 193.3. For a detailed study on Voltaire’s uses of pseudonymity across genres, see Nicholas Cronk,
Connors: Authorship, Attribution, and Intent / 27
“Voltaire and Authorship,” in The Cambridge Companion to Voltaire, Nicholas Cronk (ed.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 31– 47.
4. Didier Masseau explores various religious and secular types of anti- philosophes in his book, Les ennemies des philosophes: l’anti- philosophie au temps des Lumières (Paris: Albin Michel, 2000).
5. Jean- Jacques Lefranc de Pompignan, Discours de réception prononcé devant l’Académie française, le 10 mars 1760 (Paris, 1760). For more information on the life and works of Lefranc de Pompignan, see T.E.D. Braun, Un ennemi de Voltaire: Lefranc de Pompignan (Paris: Minard, 1972).
6. The bibliography on the cultural climate in France during this period is vast. For more information on the specifi c debate between philosophes and anti- philosophes, see Olivier Fer-ret, La Fureur de nuire: échanges pamphlétaires entre philosophes et antiphilosophes (1750– 1770) (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2007). For a concise account of how philosophes and anti- philosophes waged war in the theater, see my recent article, “Performing Criticism during Cultural War: The case of Voltaire’s L’Ecossaise (1760).” Eighteenth- Century Fiction 10 (Nov. 2010), 61– 80.
7. Colin Duckworth provides a perspicacious timeline of the theatrical staging and publica-tions of Voltaire’s play in his critical edition of L’Ecossaise (Les Œuvres complètes de Voltaire, ed. W.H. Barber vol. 50, t.1) (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1986).
8. Voltaire’s L’Ecossaise, despite appearing directly after Palissot’s Les Philosophes was not a direct response to Palissot’s play, as Colin Duckworth has shown— and as Russell Goulbourne has since nuanced a bit. Voltaire never intended to stage L’Ecossaise, but changed his tune after learning that Palissot’s protector was none other than Fréron, his most vocal enemy at the time. For more information, see Russell Goulbourne, Voltaire comic dramatist (Oxford: Voltaire Foun-dation, 2006).
9. This was not Voltaire’s fi rst use of a “double- pseudonym strategy.” As Nicholas Cronk argues, the Bibliothèque nationale in France has catalogued over 175 pseudonyms employed by the philosophe. Cronk, “Voltaire and authorship,” 40.
10. For example, just several days before the premiere of L’Ecossaise, Voltaire wrote a letter to his friend, Charles Augustin d’Argental, in which he referred to À messieurs les parisiens (a supposed requête du traducteur de l’Ecossaise) as “Jérôme Carré’s requête” even though Voltaire himself had penned the pamphlet and the play. 14 July 1760 (d9062). Correspondance de Vol-taire (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation).
11. Voltaire’s previous attempts at “serious” comedy include Nanine, ou le préjugé vaincu (1749), La femme qui a raison (1749) and Socrate (unpublished, written in 1759).
12. Collé, Journal historique ou mémoires critiques II, July 1760 (Paris: Imprimerie Bibli-ographique, 1807), 370.
13. Duckworth, Introduction, 243.14. Carlo Goldoni was a model dramatist to both Diderot and Voltaire. Diderot read Gold-
oni’s Il vero amico (1750) before writing Le fi ls naturel (this is what earned Diderot the plagia-rism charges) and Voltaire was not ignorant of Goldoni’s La bottega del caffé (1751) when pen-ning L’Ecossaise.
15. It seems that Parisian audiences were not as keen on drames and plays modeled after English predecessors as Duckworth claims. The lukewarm reception of Diderot’s Le père de famille in 1761 as well as the diffi culties he suffered in getting Le fi ls naturel staged at a public
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theater throughout the 1750s and 1760s (it was ultimately performed for the general public in 1771) provide stark counterexamples, as do the mediocre responses to Voltaire’s Pamela (1743) and Le droit du seigneur (1762)— two plays which borrowed heavily from English predecessors.
16. The critical debate over whether or not L’Ecossaise is a drame is still quite vibrant. Although Voltaire writes admiringly about Diderot’s concepts of drama in his preface to L’Ecossaise, the play’s script— with its ridiculous characters and conscientious refutation of the “fourth wall”— renders problematic any attempt to call L’Ecossaise a drame.
17. Fréron refutes Home’s authorship in his review of the printed copy of L’Ecossaise on June 3 1760. L’Année littéraire iv (Paris: Lejay, 1760), 73– 114.
18. Anti- philosophes consistently attempted to drive a wedge in between philosophes. For example, Palissot sycophantically praises Voltaire throughout the summer of 1760 and even goes so far as to send him a personal copy of Les Philosophes and publish his correspondence with the great “Patriarch of Ferney.”
19. In his July 14 letter to d’Argental, Voltaire insists that he publish À messieurs les parisiens “deux ou trois jour avant” the premiere of L’Ecossaise. Voltaire, Correspondence, d9062.
20. In Act I, scene 3 of L’Ecossaise, Voltaire stages a group of “Interlocutors” who eagerly weigh in on politics, art, and literature without listening to how their counterparts respond. For an interesting take on how this scene refl ects Voltaire’s feelings about the emerging pub-lic sphere, see Nicolas Veysman, Mise en scène de l’opinion publique dans la littérature des Lumières (Paris: Champion, 2004), 206– 12.
21. William D. Howarth shows that in 1700, “Paris theatres provided between them accom-modation for some 4,000 spectators; around 1750, this fi gure is thought to have increased to 6,000 or more; and on the eve of the Revolution, to 12,000 or 13,000.” In Beaumarchais and the Theatre (New York: Routledge, 1995), 58.
22. Voltaire postponed staging his tragedy Tancrède so that L’Ecossaise could appear at the Comédie- Française in the wake of Palissot’s Les Philosophes.
23. The 1750s and 1760s were arguably the most “engaged” period of Voltaire’s public life. Chronologically, his L’Ecossaise appeared in between the publications of perhaps Voltaire’s most famous works: Candide (1759) and Le dictionnaire philosophique (started in the 1750s and completed on the heels of the Calas affair in 1764). For more information on Voltaire’s engage-ment during this precise period, see Nicholas Cronk, Voltaire and the 1760s: Essays for John Renwick (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2008).
24. In his preface to L’Ecossaise, Voltaire praises Diderot for having created an “art de la comédie” and for being the fi rst person to “mettre sur le théâtre les conditions et les états des hommes.” In Duckworth, Introduction, 356.
25. Melchior Grimm, Corréspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique iv (June 15 1760) (Paris: Garnier frères, 1878), 239– 40. Grimm’s misattribution to Hume is particularly interest-ing, whether as an accidental slip or as a means to ensure French authorship of a play that debuted during the French and Indian War between France and Great Britain.
26. In La fureur de nuire, Olivier Ferret provides the narrative of Voltaire’s eventual defense of his “petit troupeau” after multiple attacks from anti- philosophes in 1760 (412– 14).
27. Palissot published his correspondence with Voltaire as an illegally printed pamphlet, Lettres et réponses de M. Palissot et de M. de Voltaire in July 1760. After realizing that this leak would strain his relationship with philosophe friends, Voltaire wrote to Palissot, exclaiming that this practice was “ni de la philosophie ni du monde” (July 12, 1760, d9262).
Connors: Authorship, Attribution, and Intent / 29
28. Although it is not clear if he is merely being facetious, Voltaire still refers to Jérôme Carré as the play’s translator as late as August 17, 1760 (Correspondance, d9154).
29. Grimm, Correspondance littéraire iv (July 15, 1760), 260.30. It would be incorrect to defi ne these scholars solely by their work in attribution stud-
ies. For example, Anne Ferry wrote extensively on Milton and on epic poetry in general and Pat Rogers is the editor of numerous anthologies on British literature. As the editor of The Faces of Anonymity: Anonymous and Pseudonymous Publication from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Cen-tury (New York: Palgrave, 2003), Griffi n is perhaps the leading scholar on anonymity at present, while Donald Foster is most famous for his attribution work on Shakespeare in Elegy by W.S.: A Study in Attribution (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989).
31. Even if overly schematic, it is important to note that the following works and concepts draw particular ire from attribution critics: Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author” in Image, Music, Text (New York: Hill & Wang), 142– 49); Jacques Derrida’s notion of écriture as elabo-rated in “Differance” in Speech and Phenomena, trans. David B. Allison (Evanston, il: North-western University Press, 1973), 137– 39; and Michel Foucault’s “What is an Author?” Lan-guage, Counter- Memory, Practice, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca ny: Cornell University Press, 1977), 113– 38.
32. Besides his expertise on Shakespeare attributions, Donald Foster has earned the titles “literary sleuth” and “forensic linguist” for his recent attributions of contemporary writing, including outing Joe Klein as the author of Primary Colors (1996). Moreover, with his lexi-cal and handwriting analyses, he has helped U.S. governmental authorities with public criminal cases, including the JonBenét Ramsey murder (1997), the “Unabomber Manifesto” (1995), and the 2001 Anthrax attacks on U.S. post offi ces and government buildings.
33. Donald W. Foster, “In the Name of the Author.” New Literary History 33, vol. 2 (2002), 375.
34. Griffi n, The Faces of Anonymity, 3– 4.35. Griffi n, The Faces of Anonymity, 7.36. In an early section of “What is an Author?,” designed to elucidate the ethics of contem-
porary writing, Foucault uses the “what matter” line from Beckett’s famous Texts for Nothing (1974). Foucault then famously concludes his essay with that same line: “What matter who’s speaking”— this time, only gesturing towards Beckett instead of explicitly quoting him. Fou-cault, “What is an Author,” 138.
37. Foster, “In the Name of the Author,” 376.38. Foucault, “What is an Author?,” 131.39. Foucault, “What is an Author?,” 131.40. Du Marsais, “Philosopher,” in The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d’Alembert Collaborative
Translation Project, trans. Dena Goodman. Online at the University of Michigan, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/did/index.html (accessed March 15, 2011).
41. These are Voltaire’s two most ardent enemies. Pierre Desfontaines started the anti- philosophique newspaper, Observations sur les écrits modernes in 1735 and Fréron took over as editor after Desfontaines’ death in 1745.
42. “Lettre du Sieur Palissot, auteur de la comédie des Philosophes, au public, pour servir de Préface à la pièce,” reprinted in Olivier Ferret’s critical edition of Palissot’s Les Philosophes (St. Etienne: Presses Universitaires de St. Etienne, 2002), 114. According to Ferret, Palissot was borrowing from Lefranc de Pompignan’s Mémoire présenté au roi le 11 mai 1760, in which the
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anti- philosophe writes: “La secte des esprits forts s’est accrue prodigieusement, et ne garde plus le silence. Ses écrivains insultent à découvert la religion.” O. Ferret, Introduction to Les Philos-ophes, 114.
43. Going even further than more “secular” anti- philosophes like Lefranc de Pompignan and Palissot, the abbé Flexier de Réval, in his Catéchisme philosophique, warned France about the philosophes’ “poudres corrosives” that would eventually “consumer les chairs baveuses d’une plaie, rongeroient la chair vive, carieroient les os, et perceroient jusqu’aux moelles.” In Didier Masseau, Les Ennemies des philosophes, 43.
44. This leaves us with the question: who is the “initiator”— Grimm or Voltaire? Even though Grimm “outs” his fellow philosophe, Voltaire is still the author of both the partisan preface and the dramatic text (he will go down in history as having responded to the anti- philosophes), thus making him, for the purposes of clarity, the chief “initiator,” even if Grimm helped him “initiate.”
45. Foucault, “What is an Author?,” 138.46. Nicholas Cronk, “Voltaire and authorship,” 41.