Ovid, Galanterie and Politics in Madame de Villedieu’s Les Exilés de la cour d’Auguste
Early Modern French Studies
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Reason for embargo
Les Exilés de la cour d’Auguste (1672–78) was one of Madame de Villedieu’s most successful novels, and yet it has received very little critical treatment. In this essay, I will show that the novel deserves attention primarily as an exploration of the burgeoning genre of the histoire galante. One of the principal ways in which Villedieu examines her own writing practice is through the characterisation of Ovide in which she self-consciously reworks recent fictional and poetic depictions of this figure, responding to and developing his assimilation into galant circles. Villedieu draws out the complexity of Ovid’s place in galant culture, and so the complexity of galanterie itself, by examining the relationship between the refined and the licentious facets of this phenomenon. This examination is in turn used as a means of reflecting on the genre of the histoire galante in order to pose questions about the contemporary publishing climate, the relationship between the court and the poet, and to make a case for the polemical powers of her historical fiction.
Vol. 37, No 1, pp. 49-63