"Here is a unique and penetrating postmodernist invitation to reread Pascal's Pensées. With a full control on two centuries of Pascalian hermeneutics, Sara Melzer leads her readers into a passionate quest far beyond the worn-out search for a paleontological reconstruction of the Pensées's hypothetical final form. She rightly and deeply understands Pascal's writing--écriture--as the complex story of the "Fall of Truth into language." Such a perspective gives to Pascal's fragments a rejuvenated life, a newness, a dramatic and powerful voice for our own culture. In brief, a welcome breeze of fresh air in the Pascalian world!"--Edouard Morot-Sir, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill "By approaching Pascal's Pensées from the point of view of contemporary critical theory, Melzer sheds new light on this well-known work. Her argument is clear, lucid, and cogent. She has a firm grasp of the major issues at stake in debates among literary critics. I think this is an important work that will be of interest not only to Pascal specialists but also to people who work in the general area of literary theory. . . . One of the genuine strengths of the book is the author's ability to discern the theological implications of issues that preoccupy literary theorists. This is particularly important at a time when students of theology and religion are becoming more and more interested in literary theory. They will find this analysis of Pascal very suggestive."--Mark Taylor, Williams College
Sara E. Melzer is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Discourses of the Fall: A Study of Pascal's Pensées and coeditor of From the Royal to the Republican Body: Incorporating the Political in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century France.