Cultures de cour, cultures du corps

Book published with the scientific support of the CRCV and resulting from the research programme “Court Cultures, Body Cultures: Practices, Norms and Representations of the Body in European Courts prior to the French Revolution” led by the Research Centre.

Cultures de cour, cultures du corps, (publication from the international symposium held on 7, 8 and December 2006 at the Palace of Versailles), directed by Catherine Lanoë, Mathieu da Vinha and Bruno Laurioux, Presses de l’université Paris-Sorbonne (PUPS), (“Mythes, critique et histoire” Collection), June 2011, 16 x 24 cm, 320 p., black & white illustrations, with 8 colour plates, €22 (ISBN: 978-2-84050-763-5).


Throughout Western Europe, from the Middle Ages up to the modern period, court societies developed and put a new emphasis on the body, ensuring its promotion on the political and social scene. The strategies for its maintenance, grooming and appearance were given a very special place in this highly hierarchical world. Drawing on very varied sources (literature, iconography and accounting documents) and striving to describe not only the norms and representations of this culture of the body, but also the practices and techniques that they led to - know-how, gestures, accessories, specific arrangements, etc. - the contributions assembled in this volume offer original and detailed insight into Europe’s court societies. They cover the uses of perfumes and cosmetics, as well as wigs, health diets, therapeutic and cleansing baths, dental hygiene and even toilets. Going beyond the usual anecdotes and persistent clichés, they demonstrate that the questions of health, hygiene and beauty were central preoccupations of the individuals who made up the courts.

To order the book

Éditions des PUPS

Book reviews

Read Pascale Mormiche’s review published online 29 June 2011 on Clionautes (in French).

Read José Antonio López Anguita review published in Cuadernos de Historia Moderna, vol. 37 (2012), p. 319-321 (Academic journal of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid).

Website produced with the support of:
Château de Versailles
Conseil général des Yvelines