“Lieux et expressions du pouvoir” Coll. No 3 - “Faire le roi. L’autre corps de Louis XIII

Faire le roi. L’autre corps de Louis XIII by Marie-Claude Canova-Green, joint publication Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Éditions Fayard (“Lieux et expressions du pouvoir” Collection), March 2018, 372 p., 8 colour plates, 15,3 × 23,5 cm, €23 (ISBN: 978-2213709383).


On 17 October 1610, at dawn, Louis XIII was in the royal chamber of the Archbishop’s Palace in Reims, awaiting his coronation. Beneath a long-sleeved robe, cut from silver fabric, the young king wore a linen shirt and a tunic of crimson satin. Thirty-three years later, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Louis XIII was on his deathbed. The glorious body, once presented for the admiration of onlookers in the cathedral of Reims, was now nothing more than naked suffering flesh. However, this was still the body of the “King”.

More than any other, Louis XIII endeavoured to resolve this tension between the ideal of perfection expected of the royal appearance and the reality imposed by a body of fallible flesh. How to embody majesty in despite an unattractive physique? How to justify political authority when one cannot control one’s anger? How to lead one’s soldiers in war when one is obliged to stay in bed?

From cradle to deathbed, from theatre stage to battlefield, Marie-Claude Canova-Green guides us through these places where, in order to embody his role, the king invented a form of political representation, with his body as the centrepiece.

Professor at London University (Goldsmiths), Marie-Claude Canova-Green is a specialist in cultural history, and particularly in court entertainments from the 16th to the 18th century.

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