Women in the Pantheon of Illustrious Men

OCT 18, 2013 | 5:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


4202: French Student Lounge


October 18, 2013: 5:00 PM




Ph.D. Program in French


The genre of illustrious men, inherited from antiquity and imported into France in the mid-sixteenth century during a period of civil unrest, has been characterized as a way to anchor a political regime during a period of flux through the analogical modeling of the mirror for the prince. This talk looks at a 17th-century gallery of illustrious men, which includes three women in its pantheon. The gallery’s allegorical program cannot function analogically because of its inclusion of women. More interesting, however, is the print reproduction of the gallery in an elaborate print folio after the destruction of the historical site. Does the book object itself, a complex compendium of allegorical layers both visual and verbal, reinforce or undermine the allegorical thrust of the original gallery? How this print object manipulates and transforms a lost historical site to create less a lieu de memoire than a lieu de passage has much to reveal about gender, allegory, history, and political representations in early modern Europe. Abby Zanger is the author of Scenes from the Marriage of Louis XIV: Nuptial Fictions and the Making of Absolutist Power (Stanford) as well as numerous essays on topics situated at the cusp of the fields of literature, history, visual studies, and gender theory. Most recently she has published articles and book chapters on topics such as women and iconography, witchcraft and placebos, the politics of the marriage plot, allegories of royal procreation, and the relations between print and theatre. She is currently working on two book projects, one on political allegory and the other on passages to print, both concerning early modern France. She has held academic appointments at Harvard University, Yale University, Tufts University, Boston University, Duke University, and the University of Iowa.