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The Enlightenment in PracticeAcademic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670-1794$
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Jeremy L. Caradonna

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450600

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450600.001.0001

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The Rebirth of the Concours Académique

The Rebirth of the Concours Académique

Cultural Politics and the Domestication of Letters in the Age of Louis XIV

(p.14) Chapter 1 The Rebirth of the Concours Académique
The Enlightenment in Practice

Jeremy L. Caradonna

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the rebirth of the concours académique, with particular emphasis on cultural politics and the domestication of letters during the reign of Louis XIV. It begins with an overview of France's “concours culture,” an aristocratic invention, or at least one inspired by the values of the nobility. It then considers the ways in which the cultural politics of Louis XIV—that is, the exploitation of cultural practices for political ends—involved the academies and how it relates to academic prize contests. It also charts the rise of the academy in early modern Europe before turning to the French Academy's prize contests and how they promoted at once the eloquence of the French language, Catholicism, and the body of Louis XIV. Finally, it examines contests held by provincial academies as well as the participation of savants in the Republic of Letters in the concours académique.

Keywords:   concours académique, cultural politics, Louis XIV, concours culture, academies, academic prize contests, Europe, French Academy, Catholicism, Republic of Letters

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