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Kathrina LaPorta

Submitted by klaporta on 26 April 2016 - 2:18pm
Kathrina LaPorta
Dartmouth College

Kathrina LaPorta's article "Diverting the Reader: Novel Strategies in the Conseil privé de Louis le Grand (1696)" has recently been published in Early Modern French Studies (Vol. 37, Issue 2). The piece is accessible online through the following link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20563035.2015.1117295

 An abstract is copied below:

The anonymous pamphlet Conseil privé de Louis le Grand (1696) subjects French monarch Louis XIV to scathing ridicule and denunciation. Interestingly, however, the pamphleteer frames his critique of absolutist politics within an entertaining narrative that deploys tropes from contemporary literary genres such as the historical novella and the historico-satirical novel. A poetics of diversion subtends the work, readable at the level of the plot as well as in the satirical mechanism employed in the text: not only does the Conseil privé de Louis le Grand incorporate scenes focusing on courtly diversions, but it also diverts readers in a more literal way by transforming the monarch into a source of amusement. Absolutism becomes grist to the mill of pamphleteering, and the king a product of authorial fantasy. The pamphleteer figures Louis the Great's privy council as a harem — a world of corruption, weakness, and ineptitude where the monarchy is painted in its imagined and unimaginable excesses. Studying this text through the lens of diversion offers a case study affirming the power of fiction as a weapon in the pamphleteer's arsenal.