January 16, 2007

Kristeva on Fougeret de Monbron

Fougeret de Monbron

Fougeret de Monbron, a Cosmopolitan with a Shaggy Heart
Charles Louis Fougeret de Monbron wrote Cosmopolitanism or the citizen of the world in 1750 and it is thought that he inspired Diderot’s Nephew. For Fougeret, it is the vices of different countries that inspires him to travel and he enjoys reenacting them in pantomime fashion. Fougeret told Diderot that he had a shaggy heart indicating his status as a negativist: ‘Subjectivistic relativism, hatred towards others and oneself, and the feeling of being empty and fallacious, govern the impossibility of settling down and the acid laughter of cosmopolitanism’ (142). This is not a peaceful universality, but, ‘the passionate tearing away that shakes the identity of one who no longer recognizes himself in the community of his own people’ (142).

It was now that the word cosmopolitan came to be seen in a negative light by those who valued the nation-state and a battle ensued between Montesquieu’s positive version and Fougeret’s negative one.

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