Jean Desmarets, later Sieur de Saint-Sorlin, was a late Renaissance `universal man': first Chancellor and founder-member of the Académie-française, last jester of the French royal court and star performer in ballets, novelist, playwright, poet, architect, inventor, and mystic. He was also the first man to publicize the notion of `a century of Louis XIV'. Hugh Gaston Hall's book examines that notion by looking afresh at Desmarets' vigorous career and relating the `century of Louis XIV' to its origins in the reign of Louis XIII. It questions historical misconceptions about Cardinal Richelieu's cultural policies and demonstrates the importance for the Court ballet of his patronage. Giovanni Bernini's illusionist sets and lighting effects for the Grand'Salle, which later became Molière's theatre and the Opéra, are discussed here in English for the first time. Desmarets' many high-level court offices, his family connections, and works - ballets, plays, poems, and religious and polemical pieces - reveal new and important links with contemporary institutions and preoccupations. In particular Dr Hall considers the plays in the light of exemplary eloquence, and considers the intentions of the Académie-française, and the Quarrel of the Imaginaires, in relation to royal policy and the Cartesian revolution.
`a work bristling with learning ... Dr Hall has done a good job in resurrecting him, and readers of "Dance Research" should be particularly grateful to him for having considered in such detail his contributions to Court Ballet and public festivals' Dance Research `Hugh Gaston Hall's book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of Desmarets's work and his role in seventeenth-century culture and society.' French History 'a timely and important contribution to historical understanding ... packed with information of all kinds' Times Literary Supplement `The author of this erudite and deeply personal quest for a more profound understanding of seventeenth-century France is well-known to scholars in the field... The research presented in the earlier articles is not only augmented, the entire career and thought (not biography) of this neglected writer is also explored'. Orest Ranum, PFSCL, VOL XIX, NO 36, 1992. 'Hall offers important corrections and amplifications of the corpus of Desmarets's work. The book is attractively produced and illustrated, and the scholarly detail of bibliography and reference beyond reproach.' David Clarke, King's College, London, Modern Language Review, Vol.87 Part 2 'If Hall favors Desmarets in his account of the nasty quarrels, it is, he admits, simply to balance out "three centuries dominated by Jansenist historiography." Hall's work, marked by formidable erudition, should help correct such an imbalance.' Helen Bates McDermott, University of Minnesota, French Review 'Gaston Hall's book makes a major contribution to the cultural history of this and the subsequent period by giving us a very detailed account of one writer's relationship with power. It is in many respects a remarkable story and demonstrates the degree to which writing at this time was a radically social and political activity. The book is an exhaustive, and, probably, definitie account of a writer who for many people is most celebrated for his comedy Les Visionnaires ... will be essential reading for scholars with an interest in a whole range of seventeenth-century issues ... it is unquestionably the virtue of a book as good as this to make us think very hard about our own representations of history.' Seventeenth-Century French Studies, Volume XIV, 1992 'Hall makes a compelling case for reexamining accepted views of the century and, indeed, for reading Desmarets ... marked by formidable erudition.' Helen Bates McDermott, University of Minnesota, French Review
Number Of Pages: 408
Published: 17th May 1990
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.0 x 14.5 x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.67