Louis XIV Outside In: Images of the Sun King Beyond France, 1661-1715, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Louis XIV Outside In

Images of the Sun King Beyond France, 1661-1715, 1st Edition

By Tony Claydon, Charles-Édouard Levillain


246 pages

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pub: 2016-03-18
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Louis XIV - the ’Sun King’ - casts a long shadow over the history of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. Yet while he has been the subject of numerous works, much of the scholarship remains firmly rooted within national frameworks and traditions. Thus in France Louis is still chiefly remembered for the splendid baroque culture his reign ushered in, and his political achievements in wielding together a strong centralised French state; whereas in England, the Netherlands and other protestant states, his memory is that of an aggressive military tyrant and persecutor of non-Catholics. In order to try to break free of such parochial strictures, this volume builds upon the approach of scholars such as Ragnhild Hatton who have attempted to situate Louis’ legacy within broader, pan-European context. But where Hatton focused primarily on geo-political themes, Louis XIV Outside In introduces current interests in cultural history, integrating aspects of artistic, literary and musical themes. In particular it examines the formulation and use of images of Louis XIV abroad, concentrating on Louis' neighbours in north west Europe. This broad geographical coverage demonstrates how images of Louis XIV were moulded by the polemical needs of people far from Versailles, and distorted from any French originals by the particular political and cultural circumstances of diverse nations. Because the French regime’s ability to control the public image of its leader was very limited, the collection highlights how - at least in the sphere of public presentation - his power was frequently denied, subverted, or appropriated to very different purposes, questioning the limits of his absolutism which has also been such a feature of recent work.


"This volume teaches us that history is local (even in an international context) and that each player has a different agenda based on evolving foreign and domestic relations. For this reason, the importance of looking from the "outside in" is more than justified, and the authors deserve much credit in creating a rich volume of texts, one that should accompany studies of Louis XIV, as well as be required reading on the central role of image making by the regimes that governed Europe during the early modern period." - Annmarie Sawkins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Table of Contents

Introduction: Louis XIV upside down? Interpreting the Sun King’s image, Tony Claydon and Charles-Édouard Levillain; Image battles under Louis XIV: some reflections, Hendrik Ziegler; Francophobia in late-17th-century England, Tim Harris; ‘We have better materials for clothes, they, better taylors’: the influence of La Mode on the clothes of Charles II and James II, Maria Hayward; The court of Louis XIV and the English public sphere: worlds set apart?, Stéphane Jettot; Popular English perceptions of Louis XIV's way of war, Jamel Ostwald; Louis XIV, James II and Ireland, D.W. Hayton; Lampooning Louis XIV: Romeyn de Hooghe’s Harlequin prints, 1688-89, Henk van Nierop; Foe and fatherland: the image of Louis XIV in Dutch songs, Donald Haks; Amsterdam and the ambassadors of Louis XIV 1674-85, Elizabeth Edwards; Millenarian portraits of Louis XIV, Lionel Laborie; Index.

About the Authors

Tony Claydon is Professor of Early Modern History at Bangor University, Wales. He is author of several books including, William III and the Godly Revolution; (with Ian McBride) ed., Protestantism and National Identity: Britain and Ireland c.1650-c.1850; William III: Profiles in Power; and Europe and the Making of England, 1660-1760. Charles-Édouard Levillain is Professor of History at the Université Paris VII Denis Diderot, France. A historian of early modern Britain and Europe, he works primarily on Anglo-Dutch politics in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He is author of, Vaincre Louis XIV. Angleterre-Hollande-France. Histoire d'une relation tiangulaire (1665-1688) (Champ Vallon, 2010); and Un glaive pour un royaume. La querelle de la milice dans l’Angleterre du XVIIe siècle (Honoré Champion, 2014).

About the Series

Politics and Culture in Europe, 1650-1750

Politics and Culture in Europe, 1650-1750 Focusing on the years between the end of the Thirty Years' War and the end of the War of the Austrian Succession, this series seeks to broaden scholarly knowledge of this crucial period that witnessed the solidification of Europe into centralized nation states and created a recognizably modern political map. Bridging the gap between the early modern period of the Reformation and the eighteenth century of colonial expansion and industrial revolution, these years provide a fascinating era of study in which nationalism, political dogma, economic advantage, scientific development, cultural and artistic interests and strategic concerns began to compete with religion as the driving force of European relations and national foreign policies. The period under investigation, the second half of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth, corresponds with the decline of Spanish power and the rise of French hegemony that was only to be finally broken following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. This shifting political power base presented opportunities and dangers for many countries, resulting in numerous alliances between formerly hostile nations attempting to consolidate or increase their international influence, or restrain that of a rival. These contests of power were closely bound up with political, cultural and economic issues: particularly the strains of state building, trade competition, religious tension and toleration, accommodating flows of migrants and refugees, the birth pangs of rival absolutist and representative systems of government, radical structures of credit, and new ways in which wider publics interacted with authority. Despite this being a formative period in the formation of the European landscape, there has been relatively little research on it compared to the earlier Reformation, and the later revolutionary eras. By providing a forum that encourages scholars to engage with the forces that were shaping the continent - either in a particular country, or taking a trans-national or comparative approach - it is hoped a greater understanding of this pivotal era will be forthcoming.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Renaissance
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century