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Empires of galanterie: The Transformations of the Imperial Imagination in Eighteenth-century France

Charlotte Guichard, The Ecole Normale Supérieure

Thu, 2/29 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

Department of Art and Archaeology

In 1763, an engraving was published in Paris to advertise French colonization in Guyana. Depicting a wealthy land, rich in promises, and couples engaged in gallant conversations, the image promoted a peaceful colonization. It ephemerally reenacted a gallant aesthetic born in Louis XIV’s reign which contributed to frame the imaginary of French empire and colonies until the Regency years. How did this imaginary take form around 1700? How was it articulated to the gallant aesthetics of Louis XIV? From the islands of love to the fêtes galantes and the rise of gallant myths and epics, this lecture will explore gallantry as an ideal of civilization and commerce between sexes and nations and how it contributed to shape French imperial imagination and its transformation into an irenic trope of colonization.

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