BoetieBrenton Hobart has recently published an article for the website Cornucopia on Étienne de La Boétie’s Discourse of Voluntary Servitude: a mid-sixteenth-century text that questions how millions of unconstrained individuals, “simply enchanted and charmed by the name of one man”, could miserably and voluntarily chose to serve him—a man “whose power they need not fear, since he is alone, and whose qualities they should not love, since he is inhumane and savage toward them.”

While La Boétie’s Discourse was one of the readings for Professor Hobart’s FirstBridge course, The French: The Greatest People in the World, in fall 2014, it is also currently among the texts studied for the French literature section of France’s national competitive examination, the Agrégation.

Professor Hobart’s article is a study of the numerous uses of the various forms of the word Frank/French in La Boétie’s Discourse, which he believes recall the liberties (the franknesses), both innate and acquired, of the French people themselves.