Reviewed | Orientialism in Louis XIV’s France

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on August 28, 2012

Appearing some time ago, Nicholas Dew’s Orientialism in Louis XIV’s France is reviewed in the current issue of French History (by way of reminder of the upcoming ASECS deadline, it’s worth noting that at least three proposed panels at the 2013 conference relate to the theme of Europe’s engagement with Asia). As Julia Landweber notes in her review of Dew’s book for H-France Review 10 (July 2010): 437-40, readers should also consult Ina McCabe’s Orientalism in Early Modern France (Berg, 2008). Landweber writes: “McCabe aimed for an almost encyclopedic gathering of information, bringing in figures great and small alike for brief cameos,whereas Dew chose to focus his research on the deep analysis of a much narrower set of individuals. By happy fortune, Dew’s subjects barely overlap with McCabe’s; in consequence, the two works complement each other nicely. Read together, their theses essentially reinforce one another, and indicate that a consensus has been reached in terms of a new post-Saidian interpretation of ‘baroque Orientalism'” (439). -CH

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French History 26 (September 2012): 403-04.

Review of Nicholas Dew, Orientalism in Louis XIV’s France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 301 pages, ISBN: 9780199234844. $120.

Reviewed by Diane C. Margolf; posted online 28 July 2012

Historians of Europe’s Republic of Letters during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries will welcome this book as a valuable addition to the field. Focusing on what he calls ‘baroque Orientalism’, Nicholas Dew explores the ways in which a small group of French scholars produced knowledge about China, India, and the Ottoman Empire before the Enlightenment of the later eighteenth century and the European empires of the modern era. Although the scholars’ research and publication efforts were often unsuccessful and always fraught with delays and complications, Dew’s analysis of the process they followed further enriches our understanding of intellectual and cultural activity in France under Louis XIV. . .

The full review is available here» (subscription required)

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