from The Century Dictionary.
- noun In lit., a style resembling that of Marivaux, whose writings were a mixture of subtle metaphysics and bizarre trivialities, with over-refined sentiments which were mingled with the most ordinary colloquialisms: the word has come to note an affected attempt at refinement.
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The journalist-turned-playwright was damned by the term "marivaudage" from those who believed he was all style over substance, but there have been some notable revivals of his works in recent years, such as Philip Wilson's take on Neil Bartlett's 1960s version of The Game Of Love And Chance at Salisbury earlier this year.
The peculiar affectation of his style occasioned the invention of the word marivaudage, to express the way of writing of him and his imitators.
The "marivaudage" of Marivaux is sometimes a refined and novel mode of expressing delicate shades and half-shades of feeling; sometimes an over-refined or over-subtle attempt to express ingenuities of sentiment, and the result is then frigid, pretentious, or pedantic.
By the way, how non-frogs understand the concept of “marivaudage”?
But Hamsun sets his battle in the sign of the heart, not of the head; it is a marivaudage of feeling, none the less deep for its erratic utterance.
That Marivaux is a mannerist is so universally acknowledged in France, that the peculiar term of _marivaudage_ has been invented for his mannerism.
Cr ` ebillon is entirely out of fashion, and Marivaux a proverb: marivauder and marivaudage are established terms for being prolix and tiresome.