Kaskaskia Under the French Regime
Natalia Maree Belting. Foreword by Carl J. Ekberg Southern Illinois University Press, 2003 Library of Congress F549.K3B4 2003 | Dewey Decimal 977.392
“The Illinois Habitant,” writes Natalia Maree Belting, “was a gay soul; he seemed shockingly carefree to later, self-righteous puritans from the American colonies. He danced on Sunday after mass, was passionately attached to faro and half a dozen other card games, and played billiards at all hours. He gossiped long over a friendly pipe and congenial mug of brandy in the half-dusk of his porch or in the noisy tavern.”
First published in 1948, Kaskaskia under the French Regime is a social and economic history of French Kaskaskia from 1703 to 1765. Using a readable, journalistic style, Belting brings to life the prairie terrain, the Kaskaskia mission, early architecture, building methods and materials, the beginnings of government, domestic tools and utensils, commerce, and the social customs of the pioneer.
In 1703, Kaskaskia was little more than a mission station in Illinois territory inhabited by a few French traders, their Indian wives, and a priest. Later in the century, the settlement became a flourishing French village filled with rows of low one-story French-style houses lining the streets. But the unique native and French bonds began when the explorers Louis Joliet and Pierre Marquette discovered a peaceful tribe, the Kaskaskia, while journeying along the Illinois River.
This historic friendship grew into a unique colonial culture, the remnants which can be seen through numerous primary source documents. Belting draws on and translates from eighteenth century French the Kaskaskia Manuscripts, in which French notaries recorded parish marriage contracts, property transactions (including slave sales), and estate inventories. She also examines the papers of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, among them the most complete census ever conducted in French Illinois, which provides a household-by-household enumeration of the population. What results is a comprehensive depiction of the lives and livelihood of French settlers in colonial Illinois.
The King and the Adulteress brings together two essays that propose radically revisionary readings of two of the most important literary works in the Western canon, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Shakespeare’s King Lear. In offering a new understanding of a deeply sadomasochistic relationship and of an authoritarian pathology, renowned psychoanalyst Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca combines psychoanalysis with literary studies to challenge the conventional judgments of readers and the stereotyped interpretations of literary critics to these masterpieces. Approaching the characters in Bovary and Lear from both an analytic and a critical viewpoint, Speziale-Bagliacca reinterprets many issues and events that involve archetypal figures of modern literary mythology. In fact, he reverses much of the received opinion about them. Charles Bovary, for example, far from being a victim of his wife’s neurotic restlessness or the epitome of a passive imbecile, is a masochist of the highest order who makes a decisive contribution to Emma’s miserable end. Lear, rather than a tragedy involving the sweet Cordelia, noble Kent, and the Fool as good and loyal supporters of an old king driven to madness by his overbearing evil daughters, is precisely the opposite. The sympathetic understanding of the reader should go, Speziale-Bagliacca suggests, also to Regan, Goneril, and Edmund, while the king, whose crisis is interpreted in the light of psychoanalytic findings on depression, finally becomes the true unbeloved "bastard" of the play. Roberto Speziale-Bagliacca is a psychoanalyst and Professor of Psychotherapy at the Medical School of the University of Genoa. He is the author of On the Shoulders of Freud and many other works.