Annales. Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations - Année 1983 - Volume 38 - Numéro 1 - Pages 21-41The King's Court
This article seeks to outline the logical structure of the aristocratic system explicitly and implicitly elaborated in the works of Saint-Simon and—to a lesser extent—in the letters of the Princesse Palatine. Central to this system is a hierarchy whose subdivisions range down to small groups and even single families. The separation between successive levels is more or less strongly marked, but this does not exclude interdependence. To each value corresponds a counter-value—sacred versus profane, pure versus impure—the sacred being so to speak the all-embracing entity and the apex of the system, while the opposition between pure and impure lies at the heart—at the center—of Saint-Simon's construct. There is a correlation between court factions and the various hierarchical levels, especially at the very summit: the royal family has its own ranks and poles around which different factions coalesce or cluster. Female hypergamy is not incompatible with the hierarchical principle, but it relaxes the rigid order of ranks, -which are anyway, as a rule, handed down through exclusively male lineage. Thus female hypergamy strengthens the system by making it more flexible and more practical. Finally, the ascetic and individualistic character of renouncers and anti-Jesuits introduces distinctive elements into a model that otherwise remains essentially holistic. On the whole the explicit or underlying ideology that shows through in the works of Saint-Simon is deeply coherent and possesses an internal logic, whereas the membra disjecta of the work might seem bizarre and sometimes grotesque when isolated from the context of the Whole of which they form part.
Source : Persée ; Ministère de la jeunesse, de l’éducation nationale et de la recherche, Direction de l’enseignement supérieur, Sous-direction des bibliothèques et de la documentation.