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social sciences

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Huet, Pierre-Daniel (1630-1721)  
 
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Huet is most renowned for his writings of philosophy. In addition to the commentary on Origen he authored Censura philosophiae cartesianae (Against Cartesian philosophy) (1689) and Alnetanae quaestiones de concordia rationis et fidei (Questions concerning the relationship of reason and faith) (1690), in both of which he took issue with Descartes's famous dictum "Cogito, ergo sum," arguing for fideism, the belief that faith, provided by God, is the source of ultimate certainty, as opposed to human reason and observation, which are inevitably subject to error. His last and best known work, Traité philosophique de la faiblesse de l'esprit humain (Philosophical treatise of the weakness of the human spirit) (1723), was published posthumously.

For his contributions to French letters Huet was elected to the Académie française in 1674.

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Huet stated in his memoirs that he had had an inclination toward a career in the church from his earliest years, but it was only in 1671 that he received minor orders. He was named abbot in 1678 and seven years later was chosen by the king to be bishop of Soissons. Pope Innocent XI, who, as Salazar puts it, "had no time for . . . nor for humanists who were too well versed in canon law," refused to confirm him in the post.

Under the succeeding pope, Alexander VIII, Huet was created bishop of Avranches in 1689. After ten years in that position he retired to the Jesuits' house in the Faubourg Saint-Jacques (a neighborhood that, as it happens, is now a center of Paris's gay community). Huet spent his last two decades in the Jesuits' facility, where, as Salazar states, "he held court, surrounded by younger men who seem to have helped him pass sweet old years, a seventeenth-century André Gide."

Huet died there on January 26, 1721. Throughout his life he had displayed both amazing intellectual curiosity and accomplishment and a keen instinct for social survival. His academic interests were among the widest that can be imagined: his expertise encompassed literature, linguistics, philosophy, mathematics, and multifarious issues in the natural sciences (including inquiries into vampirism). He also managed to establish a network of friends in the court, the church, academia, and high society that allowed him to lead a rich and rewarding life as a man who would probably be called gay in contemporary terminology.

Huet bequeathed his library, consisting of over 8,000 volumes, many annotated in his own hand, to his order. The collection was subsequently bought by the Bibliothèque Nationale of France.

Linda Rapp

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literature >> Overview:  French Literature: Before the Nineteenth Century

While evidence from earlier centuries is sparse, from the sixteenth century onward there were several French writers who treated male and female homosexuality.

social sciences >> Christina of Sweden

Enigmatic monarch and enthusiastic patron of the arts, Christina of Sweden shocked Europeans by her aversion to marriage, her "mannish" ways, and her love for women, as well as by the abdication of her throne at the age of twenty-seven.

literature >> Gide, André

André Gide, one of the premier French writers of the twentieth century, reflected his homosexuality in many of his numerous works.

social sciences >> Orléans, Philippe, Duke of

Known as "Monsieur," Philippe, Duke of Orléans lived in the shadow of his brother, Louis XIV, and is today remembered chiefly for his homosexuality.


    Bibliography
   

Gouhier, Pierre. "Vocation précoce, ordination tardive: la carrière ecclésiastique de Pierre-Daniel Huet." Pierre-Daniel Huet (1630-1721): Actes du Colloque de Caen (12-13 novembre 1993). Suzanne Guellouz, ed. Paris and Seattle: Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 1994. 13-27.

Guellouz, Suzanne. "Entre baroque et classicisme: Le faux Ynca ou Diane de Castro." Pierre-Daniel Huet (1630-1721): Actes du Colloque de Caen (12-13 novembre 1993). Suzanne Guellouz, ed. Paris and Seattle: Papers on French Seventeenth Century Literature, 1994. 119-132.

Salazar, Philippe-Joseph. "Huet, Pierre-Daniel." Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History from Antiquity to World War II. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. London: Routledge, 2001. 219-220.

Tolmer, Léon. Pierre-Daniel Huet (1630-1721): Humaniste-Physicien. Bayeux: Colas, 1949.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Huet, Pierre-Daniel  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 18, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/huet_pd.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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