In the King's Wake
Post-Absolutist Culture in France
While absolutist culture had focused on value directly represented in people (e.g., those of noble blood) and things (e.g., coins made of precious metals), post-absolutist culture instead explored the capacity of signs to stand for something real (e.g., John Law's banknotes or Marivaux's plays in which actions rather than birth signify nobility). Between the image of the Sun King and visions of the godlike Romantic self, Caplan discovers a post-absolutist France wracked by surprisingly modern conflicts over the true sources of value and legitimacy.
1. A Post-Absolutist Subject: Saint-Simon
2. "Le Poète Roy": Voltaire's Oedipe
3. The King's Insignia: Watteau, L'Enseigne de Gersaint
4. Love and Speculation: Marivaux
5. Drawing Kings: Casanova and Voltaire