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Open Access 2 The Circulation of Power and Knowledge

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2 The Circulation of Power and Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

This chapter elaborates on Foucault's investigation of the relations between power and knowledge in a different field: it examines the young-versus-old confrontation in the body of the Renaissance ruling and intellectual elite of both sides of the Alps. It shows how these relations open themselves up to various forms of self-fashioning and self-knowledge. Moreover, their political impact deserves scrutiny: at stake was nothing less than social harmony and peace. The chapter examines new forms of elders' identities that emerged from Petrarch's Letters of Old Age, Castiglione's Book of the Courtier, and Montaigne's Essais. In a period of political turmoil and especially in the context of the civil wars of Montaigne's late sixteenth-century France, the circulation of power and knowledge between generations became an increasing matter of concern. Montaigne's views on age and intergenerational relations take their full meaning when considered in this broader intellectual context.

Keywords: Castiglione's Book of the Courtier; Foucault's investigation; Montaigne's Essais; Petrarch's Letters of Old Age; self-knowledge



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