Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center
6th Floor of Van-Pelt Library
We will be welcoming Michael Suarez for a talk entitled: “‘A kind of printing:’ The Material Texts of Médailles sur les principaux événements du règne de Louis le Grand (1702, 1723).”
Patterned after numismatic books by leading European antiquaries, the Médailles is a curious amalgam of history and fiction. This highly illustrated talk traces the production, distribution, and reception histories of a volume that represents the reign of Louis XIV as if he were a Roman emperor. Creating a monument to – and propaganda vehicle for – the manifold virtues of their king, the Académie des Inscriptions spent years designing and casting a series of medals commemorating episodes from Louis’ reign, and then reproducing those medals in a folio volume with elaborate explanations of their meanings and significance. This deluxe volume from theImprimerie royale was, in turn, pirated, parodied, emulated, and ultimately rewritten. In many instances, so too were the medals themselves. Thinking about the circulation and cultural work of these two kinds of textual artifacts, and about their relationships to each other, Michael Suarez will consider a fascinating episode in the history of printing, the cultural complexities of reading, and the historiography of power.
Michael F. Suarez, S.J. is University Professor and Director of Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.