Against propaganda: The juxtaposition of images in early modern France. Reflections on the reign of Louis XII (1498-1515)

Nicole Hochner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on the design of early modern political representations. Special focus will be given to the reign of the French king Louis XII (1498-1515), whose study has remained in many respects a relative terra incognita in between the legendary ‘Spider King’, Louis XI (1461-1483), whose tyrannical reign was until recently considered the ultimate stage of the French state building process,1 and the brilliant Francis I (1515-1547), who personified the magnificence of rule. While studies analysing the question of political representations opt usually for strong authoritative kingships or evident cases of premeditated propaganda, I have chosen, on the contrary, to focus on a ‘weak’ leader apparently lacking a coherent project of self-promotion and who refrained from (or was he just unsuccessful?) discharging his duty of majesty and greatness. In addition to analysing a specific case study, this chapter will also reflect on the terminology used in studies of political imagery and representations revisiting, in particular, the concept of propaganda, the notion of ‘fabrication’ as suggested by Peter Burke and the notion of bricolage as employed by Claude Lévi-Strauss. This study does not ignore, but will not systematically explore, the wide spectrum of other notions borrowed from the theatre’s world, such as the French mise en scène, Victor Turner’s concept of ‘social drama’, Clifford Geertz’s ‘theatre state’ and Guy Debord’s société du spectacle. 2 Nor will it explore alternative metaphors inspired.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationExploring Cultural History
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Peter Burke
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351937641
ISBN (Print)9781138631151
StatePublished - 5 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 Melissa Calaresu, Filippo de Vivo, Joan-Pau Rubiés and contributors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Against propaganda: The juxtaposition of images in early modern France. Reflections on the reign of Louis XII (1498-1515)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this