Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226483108 Published August 2018
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Enchanted Islands

Picturing the Allure of Conquest in Eighteenth-Century France

Mary D. Sheriff

Enchanted Islands

Mary D. Sheriff

416 pages | 14 color plates, 43 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226483108 Published August 2018
E-book $10.00 to $55.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226483245 Published August 2018
In Enchanted Islands, renowned art historian Mary D. Sheriff explores the legendary, fictional, and real islands that filled the French imagination during the ancien regime as they appeared in royal ballets and festivals, epic literature, paintings, engravings, book illustrations, and other objects. Some of the islands were mythical and found in the most popular literary texts of the day—islands featured prominently, for instance, in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso,Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, and Fénelon’s, Telemachus. Other islands—real ones, such as Tahiti and St. Domingue—the French learned about from the writings of travelers and colonists. All of them were imagined to be the home of enchantresses who used magic to conquer heroes by promising sensual and sexual pleasure. As Sheriff shows, the theme of the enchanted island was put to many uses. Kings deployed enchanted-island mythology to strengthen monarchical authority, as Louis XIV did in his famous Versailles festival Les Plaisirs de l’île enchantée. Writers such as Fénelon used it to tell morality tales that taught virtue, duty, and the need for male strength to triumph over female weakness and seduction. Yet at the same time, artists like Boucher painted enchanted islands to portray art’s purpose as the giving of pleasure. In all these ways and more, Sheriff demonstrates for the first time the centrality of enchanted islands to ancient regime culture in a book that will enchant all readers interested in the art, literature, and history of the time.
Preface, by Keith P. Luria

Introduction: Called to Islands

1          Thinking with Islands
2          Domains of Enchantment
3          Royal Power, National Sentiment, and the Sorceress Undone
4          Calypso in the Regency
5          The Transformations of Armida
6          On the Persistence and Limits of the Enchanted Island
Review Quotes
"This playful but challenging study is a testament to the wide-ranging intellect of the late Mary Sheriff (a professor of art at Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), whose scholarship was formative in the field of 18th-century art history. . . . In each chapter, Sheriff’s characteristically dazzling play between texts and images and her virtuoso readings of single artworks reinforce her argument that islands condense the era’s thinking about pleasure, politics, and gender. Sheriff’s sophisticated but accessible study is indispensable for students and scholars of 18th-century art and culture. . . . Summing Up: Essential."
Times Literary Supplement
“Sheriff is at her best when analysing eighteenth-century pictorial representations of enchanted island narratives, most of them reproduced in this beautifully illustrated volume. . . . Melissa Hyde and Keith Luria are to be commended for bringing this rich, wide-ranging and erudite book to publication.”
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