Table of contents
About this book
The present study had its origins long ago in a doctorate thesis presented at the University of Cambridge. The work has been considerably enlarged in scope, if not in bulk, but has always been conceived as a whole. Nicole's thought is, in any case, remarkably coherent. I make use of articles of mine published in French Studies for April 1960 and July 1967, and my thanks are due to the General Editor of that journal for permission to do so. lowe a great debt of gratitude to Dr M. G. Wallas, who guided my researches in the early years. The penetration and lucidity of her criticism were equalled only by her kindness and patience. To Mr N. J. Abercrom bie, who had himself worked on Nicole for a number of years, I am deeply grateful for the gift of books, notes and analyses. Probably every section of this study owes something to his work, hints of the importance of the influence on Nicole of St Fran~ois de Sales proving particularly fruitful. One of the most pleasant moments in the course of my researches was spent at the Rijksarchief in Utrecht, to the staff of which, and to Dr AJ. van de Yen, Keeper of the Archives of the Oud-Bisschoppelijke Clerezij, I am much indebted for their kind help. May 1971 E. D. J.
René Descartes freedom humanism mysticism philosophy