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Document Details :
Title: An Unpublished Poem by Justus van Effen
Subtitle: A Monsieur Claude, sur la puissance de la rainson
Author(s): VAN STRIEN, Kees
Volume: 37 Issue: 2 Date: 2010
Justus van Effen (1684-1735) is remembered as the author of various literary journals, both in French and in Dutch, which also comprise his poetic output. A 206-line poem on ‘la faiblesse de la raison’ appeared in La Bagatelle of 20 June 1718. Another poem which may well have been its counterpart was never published. It was recently discovered among the Bentinck papers at Het Gelders Archief in Arnhem. It is entitled A Monsieur Claude, Sur la puissance de la raison. Jean-Jacques Claude (1684-1712) was one of Van Effen’s friends during their academic studies at Utrecht and a fellow-member of a literary club called Société de la franchise. Like his father and grandfather, Claude became a fashionable preacher and some of his sermons appeared posthumously in print. Van Effen’s poem probably dates from the period in which he edited Le Misanthrope (1711-1712), which aimed at facing people with the fact that they blindly followed their passions. Here Claude is presented as a model of virtue, something which, with God’s help, is attainable if people allow themselves to be governed by reason. Even though the poem remained unpublished, many of its themes appeared in prose, six months after Claude’s death, in the instalments of 5 and 12 September 1712.