New Book | King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV

Posted in books by Editor on March 31, 2020

Forthcoming from the U of C Press (though its distribution center is temporarily shut down, e-books are now 30% off, and some titles will ship from other locations). I’ll also put in a plug for Hyde Park’s Seminary Co-op Bookstore, one of the world’s great academic bookstores; its Front Table makes for fine online browsing. Like all independent bookstores, the Seminary Co-op faces daunting challenges in the weeks ahead. So keep reading, and all the better if some of those books are coming from independent booksellers you care about. CH

Philip Mansel, King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2020), 608 pages, ISBN: 978-0226690896, $35.

Louis XIV was a man in pursuit of glory. Not content to be the ruler of a world power, he wanted the power to rule the world. And, for a time, he came tantalizingly close. Philip Mansel’s King of the World is the most comprehensive and up-to-date biography in English of this hypnotic, flawed figure who continues to captivate our attention. This lively work takes Louis outside Versailles and shows the true extent of his global ambitions, with stops in London, Madrid, Constantinople, Bangkok, and beyond. We witness the importance of his alliance with the Spanish crown and his success in securing Spain for his descendants, his enmity with England, and his relations with the rest of Europe, as well as Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We also see the king’s effect on the two great global diasporas of Huguenots and Jacobites, and their influence on him as he failed in his brutal attempts to stop Protestants from leaving France. Along the way, we are enveloped in the splendor of Louis’s court and the fascinating cast of characters who prostrated and plotted within it.

King of the World is exceptionally researched, drawing on international archives and incorporating sources who knew the king intimately, including the newly released correspondence of Louis’s second wife, Madame de Maintenon. Mansel’s narrative flair is a perfect match for this grand figure, and he brings the Sun King’s world to vivid life. This is a global biography of a global king, whose power was extensive but also limited by laws and circumstances, and whose interests and ambitions stretched far beyond his homeland. Through it all, we watch Louis XIV progressively turn from a dazzling, attractive young king to a belligerent reactionary who sets France on the path to 1789. It is a convincing and compelling portrait of a man who, three hundred years after his death, still epitomizes the idea of le grand monarque.

Philip Mansel is one of Britain’s leading historians of France and the Middle East. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City; The Eagle in Splendour: Inside the Court of Napoleon; and Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean.


List of Illustrations
Family Trees

Introduction: A Thousand Years of France
1  The Gift of God
2  Our Good City of Paris
3  The Struggle for France
4  M. le Cardinal
5  The Power of Queens
6  Fouquet’s Fall
7  Making France Work
8  The Pursuit of Immortality: The Louvre and Versailles
9  Conquering Flanders
10  Fighting the Netherlands
11  To the Rhine
12  The King Outdoors
13  Inside Versailles
14  Inside Louis XIV
15  The Global King: From the Mississippi to the Mekong
16  The Huguenot Cataclysm
17  England Changes Sides: The Flights of King James
18  France against Europe
19  Spain Changes Sides: The Accession of King Philip
20  The Triumph of Europe
21  Towards the Precipice
22  Nemesis Averted
23  Funeral Games
24  The Shadow of Versailles


Call for Papers | Rediscovering Our Sculpture

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 31, 2020

From Art UK:

Rediscovering Our Sculpture: An Art UK Symposium
Cloth Hall Court, Leeds, 18–19 September 2020

Proposals due by 10 May 2020

Anne Seymour Damer, Portrait of Mary Berry (1763–1852), based on a work from ca.1793, bronze (London: National Portrait Gallery, 6395).

Art UK is inviting submissions for papers for the conference Rediscovering Our Sculpture, which will be held on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th September 2020 at Cloth Hall Court, Leeds. This symposium will celebrate the completion of Art UK’s ambitious sculpture project. It will be an opportunity to thank the project partners and funders. We will be able to share what we have learned and provide practical guidance on using sculpture for learning and engagement and methods of digitisation.

From 2017 to 2020 Art UK has been digitising sculptures in galleries, museums and public buildings, as well as outdoors—in parks, streets, and squares across the UK. The largest sculpture cataloguing project ever undertaken in the UK will be completed as a result of the hard work of a team of dedicated and enthusiastic project staff, photographers, and volunteers. Thousands of sculptures are now free to browse and search on the site, and many more will be added by the end of 2020.

Our extensive learning and engagement programme has taken sculptures into schools, engaged people and communities with their local sculptural heritage, made a series of films with young people, and provided opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to engage with sculpture collections. Professional development training has been made available for staff and volunteers from collections to develop skills around sculpture care and digitisation.

The conference will feature a selection of papers on a wide range of sculpture-related subjects. We welcome papers on topics that may include, but are not limited to:
Sculpture in the UK – research and mapping using Art UK data; new discoveries or research on sculptors, sculptures or collections; materials of sculpture; public sculpture
Sculpture curation – contemporary curation and collections development; collecting and dealing; acquiring new works; display and exhibition; collections research
Public engagement with sculpture – how we grow public interest in sculpture; interpretation and telling stories; access; digital engagement

We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations. We will also consider proposals for shorter 10-minute case study talks. Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as a biography of around 200 words, to katey.goodwin@artuk.org. The deadline for proposals is 9am on Monday, 11th May 2020.

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