Courses de Testes et Bague and the Cultural Legitimization of Louix XIV's Personal Rule, 1661-1671

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Courses de Testes et Bague and the Cultural Legitimization of Louix XIV's Personal Rule, 1661-1671

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Title: Courses de Testes et Bague and the Cultural Legitimization of Louix XIV's Personal Rule, 1661-1671
Author: Nelson, Nicholas M.
Advisor: Hayton, Darin
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 4464188 bytes82201 bytes
Issue Date: 2008
Abstract: In the final months of 1670, the Imprimerie Royale of France published a book in folio entitled Courses de Testes et de Bague Faittes Par Le Roy et par Les Princes et Seigneurs de sa Cour En l'Année 1662. Seven hundred copies were printed and bound in red leather, four hundred in French and three hundred in Latin. The book recorded in great detail exactly what its title stated: “Running at the Head and at the Ring, by the King and by the Princes and Seigneurs of his Court in the year 1662.” Rhetorically framed by its dedication as an educational text in kingship for the dauphin, the book was about a tournament: its pageantry, its participants, and their costumes. Nonetheless, the content was actually far more saturated with political and cultural meaning than a record of a tournament might suggest. Courses de Testes et de Bague delivered a clear articulation of appropriate power dynamics within French society at a time when those dynamics were uncertain because of a discontented nobility and weak throne. The book was capable of instructing and disciplining its audiences according the messages embedded within its visual material. The content asserted a coherent model of an ideal absolutist court, one which cherished the values of a god-king: undying loyalty, honor, and courtliness. The book explains how these values were assigned to the three main actors in the continuing centralization of government and power under Louis XIV: the king himself; the aristocracy; and those who were mediating the shift in power, the academicians. Constructed over the course of almost a decade, the book also helps illustrate the role of these academicians in society. Through a study of the book’s content and intended audiences, the manner in which the model of society was propagated by the académies (which were responsible for controlling the cultural production of France) emerges. The history of the book’s inception, construction, and content is one which embodies all the tensions of the time between the monarchy and the old nobility because of centralization, the efforts to legitimize the king, and the means of executing that centralization and legitimization. Courses de Testes et de Bague provides insight into both the ends and the means by which the académies simultaneously supported the young Louis XIV and disciplined a restive nobility.
Subject: Perrault, Charles, 1628-1703. Courses de testes et de bague faittes par le roy et par les princes et seigneurs de sa cour, en l'année 1662
Subject: Louis XIV, King of France, 1638-1715
Subject: France -- Politics and government -- 1643-1715
Subject: France -- Kings and rulers -- 17th century
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/1414

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Citation

Nelson, Nicholas M.. "Courses de Testes et Bague and the Cultural Legitimization of Louix XIV's Personal Rule, 1661-1671". 2008. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/1414.

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