Article ID: CBB001422228

Versailles as a Family Enterprise: The Perraults, 1660--1700 (2013)


Historians usually treat Versailles as a site of courtly interaction, or as a source for courtly “taste.” This article, however, examines processes that connected Versailles to the wider world, arguing for a model of Versailles's role in the cultural politics of the monarchy, which stresses appropriations by men of letters and supplants “top-down” models of cultural absolutism. It explores the symbolic and material uses of Versailles in the social and intellectual ventures of the Perraults, a family of Parisian men of letters. While acting as authors, members of royal academies, or aides to Colbert, the Perraults used Versailles as a source of exotic animals for scientific dissection, a depository of manuscript texts, a weapon in literary struggles, and a site of sociability. As the Perraults appropriated Versailles, they used their access to the palace for their own devices, unrelated to the goals of a state-run propaganda machine; yet these appropriations brought Louis XIV's grandeur to new publics.

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Authors & Contributors
Birkhead, T. R.
Allocca, Nunzio
Butterworth, E.
Balen, S. van
Greengrass, M.
Charmantier, I.
Der Globusfreund: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Globen- und Instrumentenkunde
Archives of Natural History
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
History of Science
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Cornell University Press
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press
Zone Books
Courts and courtiers
Court sponsored science; patronage
Natural history
Perrault, Claude
Colbert, Jean Baptiste
Louis XIV, King of France
Coronelli, Marco Vincenzo
Kepler, Johannes
Faultrier, Jean-Baptiste
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
19th century
16th century
Paris (France)
Prague (Czechia)
Beijing (China)
Académie Royale des Sciences (France)
Académie des Sciences, Paris
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)
Accademia delle Arti del Disegno

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