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Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV$
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Hugh Gaston Hall

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151579.001.0001

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Jean Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV

Jean Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV

(p.19) 1 Jean Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV
Richelieu's Desmarets and the Century of Louis XIV

Hugh Gaston Hall

Oxford University Press

Le Triomphe de Louis et de son siècle, dedicated to Louis XIV in 1674 by Jean Desmarets, opens out the traditional celebration of French royal triumphs upon an ambitious conception of the ‘century of Louis XIV’, relating contemporary French success in all the arts to the personality of its monarch. The poet's Genie in the poem associates him with the very origins of that century. Desmarets's Genie speaks with less poetic licence than might be assumed from consulting Desmarets's early biographers, who date his birth around 1595–6. Desmarets's proposal that the century of Louis XIV also dates from the beginning of the 17th century, has further fascinating implications. To begin with, it recognises aspirations active throughout the calendar century. Elements of the concept of a ‘century of Louis’ date from the reign of Henri IV, to cite only Nicolas Bourbon's Parallela Caesaris et Henrici Magni, with its prophecy that the reign of the new-born future Louis XIII would bring a return of the Golden Age.

Keywords:   Jean Desmarets, century of Louis XIV, Genie, Henri IV, Nicolas Bourbon

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