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The Force of a Law: Derrida, Montaigne, and the Edict of Villers-Cotterêts (1539)

The Force of a Law: Derrida, Montaigne, and the Edict of Villers-Cotterêts (1539) KaTie CheNoweTh The Force of a Law Derrida,Montaigne,andtheEdictofVillers-Cotterêts(1539) When the year 1539 appears on timelines of French language history, it marks the moment when king François Ier made French the official language of France by signing an edict. This law has come to be known by the name of the place where it was signed: the Edict of Villers-Cotterêts. Officially issued as the Ordonnance générale sur le fait de la justice, this edict contains 192 articles designed to enact largescale judicial and administrative reform. Its aim was to centralize and secularize political authority in the French kingdom in an unprecedented fashion. Just two articles, numbered 110 and 111, address the question of language use for which the law has become famous: 110. And so that there should be no cause to doubt whether the aforementioned legal decisions have been understood, we wish and order that they should be made and written so clearly that there neither is nor could be any room for ambiguity or uncertainty, nor cause to ask for interpretation [interpretation: interpretation or translation]. 111. And because such things have often occurred regarding the understanding of Latin words contained in legal decisions, we wish that, henceforth, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

The Force of a Law: Derrida, Montaigne, and the Edict of Villers-Cotterêts (1539)

The Comparatist , Volume 36 (1) – May 19, 2012

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
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1559-0887
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Abstract

KaTie CheNoweTh The Force of a Law Derrida,Montaigne,andtheEdictofVillers-Cotterêts(1539) When the year 1539 appears on timelines of French language history, it marks the moment when king François Ier made French the official language of France by signing an edict. This law has come to be known by the name of the place where it was signed: the Edict of Villers-Cotterêts. Officially issued as the Ordonnance générale sur le fait de la justice, this edict contains 192 articles designed to enact largescale judicial and administrative reform. Its aim was to centralize and secularize political authority in the French kingdom in an unprecedented fashion. Just two articles, numbered 110 and 111, address the question of language use for which the law has become famous: 110. And so that there should be no cause to doubt whether the aforementioned legal decisions have been understood, we wish and order that they should be made and written so clearly that there neither is nor could be any room for ambiguity or uncertainty, nor cause to ask for interpretation [interpretation: interpretation or translation]. 111. And because such things have often occurred regarding the understanding of Latin words contained in legal decisions, we wish that, henceforth,

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 19, 2012

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