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The legend of Jeanne d’Arc: illustrations by Gravelot for Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orleans (1762)

Foulkes, Tamsin (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This study examines Voltaire’s (1694-1778) poem La Pucelle d’Orléans (The Maid of Orléans) of 1762 and the accompanying illustrations by Gravelot (1699-1773) as an adaptation of the fifteenth-century legend of Jeanne d'Arc (1412-31). The original narrative tells of Jeanne who led the French army of Charles VII to victory against the English in alliance with Burgundians in the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). This thesis argues that Voltaire and Gravelot dramatically altered this original narrative to make points with eighteenth-century significance. It examines the ways in which Voltaire and Gravelot were drawing upon eighteenth-century discourses on gender and class, and those concerning the French monarchy and the Catholic Church. In particular, this study offers an insight into how Gravelot’s illustrations conveyed his understanding of Voltaire’s poem to an eighteenth-century audience. The relationship between the text and the images for the 1762 edition of La Pucelle has been overlooked by previous scholarship. It shows how Gravelot’s illustrations were more than a supporting tool for the poem and that they played an important role in heightening the readers’ understanding and enjoyment of Voltaire’s La Pucelle d’Orléans.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:History of Art
Subjects:ND Painting
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1737
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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