French Prose of Early Rococo: Theme of Island in the Tradition of New Gallantry




Robert Ballard, Marie-Cathérine d’Aulnoy, rococo, preciosité, new gallant tradition


This article explores the style and ideology of French early rococo prose in the period from 1660s to 1690s. This article represents the first attempt of study of non-translated monuments of rococo literature: Robert Ballard’s script of court festivities “Delights of the Enchanted Island” of 1664, “Voyage to the Island of Pleasures” by François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon of 1687, and “The Island of Felicity” by Marie-Cathérine d’Aulnoy of 1690 in Ukrainian cultural history. In this article we study genesis and development of stylistic and ideological symbols by reviewing the above-indicated tales. The purpose of this article is exploring the forms the style of rococo adopted in French fictional prose literature in the period of its development in 1660s–1690s.
For this study we have selected the sources, which plots are most similar, being all three dedicated to theme of a voyage to some miraculous island. This resemblance allows us to study more accurately the stylistic affinities and discrepancies in the discourse of rococo miraculous voyage and make a comparison of different narratives in literature of early rococo.
Having explored the materials indicated above, we came to conclusion that Robert Ballard and François Fénelon exploited stylistic discourses of Baroque and Renaissance respectively, adding at the same time the elements newly-appeared rococo style in their tales. At the same time, we have discovered that Marie-Cathérine d’Aulnoy in contrast to Robert Ballard and François Fénelon developed new stylistic strategy and employed it consciously, adopting at the same time fictional characters and ideological symbols which had also been specific to them. In all three authors we can observe a conscious abandoning of tradition of “preciosité” and addressing the same social and cultural issues, like woman’s power over a man and impact of pleasures on individual’s life.

Manuscript received 09.03.2020

Author Biography

Mariia Danchenko, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

PhD graduate at the Department of Cultural Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA). Main research fields: European cultural history, Modern Age culture, Rococo


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