Thematic call for publication: “Court identities and the myth of Versailles in Europe: perception, adherence and rejection (18th-19th centuries)” (research programme)

As part of its research programme “Court identities and the myth of Versailles in Europe: perception, adherence and rejection (18th-19th centuries)”, the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles wishes to publish articles related to this subject on the Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles.


The “modern” courts in Europe included the institutional, social, societal and cultural aspects concomitant with the political affirmation of personalities emerging, by agreement or through conflict, from communities exercising power together in order to seize authority for their own personal benefit and to develop a range of encomiastic processes for their own person. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, the princely courts in Europe did not confine themselves to one single paradigm. There were as many courts as there were princely houses, as many “national” types, even if some, like the Burgundian court in the 15th century and the courts in northern and central Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries, proposed models and exercised influence from one end of Europe to the other, while accommodating indigenous influences. What was new was that in 18th and 19th century Europe the princely courts referred to a model that would become the archetype: Versailles. From the 1680s, when Louis XIV established his court at Versailles, the French court was held up as a paradigm in relation to which all the others positioned themselves. This system of reference continued throughout the 19th century. Even when Versailles had foundered, along with Louis XIV’s legacy of absolute monarchy, in October 1789, its aura was strengthened by European monarchies, which persisted and even multiplied, continuing until their collapse in 1918.

This model has a reality in the French court as configured by Louis XIV. But this configuration falls short of the model used as a reference. Versailles is a myth - developed, certainly, by the French, but equally, if not more so, by their European competitors. A phenomenon that requires investigation: why did Versailles become a key reference, or not, for European courts? There are two parts to this question:

  1. What are the elements that make up this myth? How do we define this archetypal court presented as ideal? What provided the impetus, and what were the processes through which this myth developed? This question stretches well beyond France, and should be put to all those in Europe who constructed – or not – the fantasy of Versailles.
  2. How was this myth received – adopted, resisted or refused?

Research will be organised along five different lines, through which the idea of the “perfect court”, such as we find at Versailles, can be defined: organisational model, public and private areas in the residence, reigning and governing in Europe, palace and democracy, State and palace rituals.

Research themes (not exhaustive)

Article proposals can deal with one or several of the following themes and lines of enquiry:

  • Researching the history and the continuity of each office relating to the court;
  • the definition of the Etiquette ;
  • the organisational model;
  • the public and private areas in the residence;
  • to reign and govern in Europe;
  • palace and democracy;
  • State and palace rituals.

Submission guidelines and evaluation procedures

Article proposals must be submitted to Flavie Leroux.

The articles will first be examined by the Scientific Committee of the programme, and if they are selected, they will be evaluated by two experts. A summary will be sent to the author with one of the following recommendations: unconditional acceptance, conditional acceptance, conditional rejection, outright rejection.

Authors must provide:

  • Author(s)’s name and surname, institutional affiliation, email address;
  • Complete article of about 40,000 characters (final bibliography and footnotes included), respecting the presentation standards of the Bulletin (see the “Recommendations to authors”);
  • An abbreviated curriculum vitae.

Authors with a draft article can submit their proposal in the form of an abstract of approximately 5,000 characters which will be examined by the Scientific Committee. If the proposal is accepted, the article once completed will be evaluated by two experts and the author will receive the synthesis with the final decision.

Proposals can be submitted in the following languages: French, English, German, Italian, Spanish.

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