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French-bashing, French style

In a much-discussed article published last year in Le Monde (13 December 2013), French historian Mona Ozouf argued in favour of honouring the memory of three figures of the French resistance movement by transferring their remains to the Paris Panthéon, explaining that the story of ‘the resistants’ fight against the Nazi occupier is the last great tale of heroism in French history capable of uniting [...], in a feeling of shared national pride, all the French people, who are usually so prone to belittling their own country’ (my emphasis).

14th International Congress for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS 2015) Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 26-31 July 2015 Call for Proposals: panels/papers/posters

The Congress of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS) is the world’s largest meeting of specialists on all aspects of the eighteenth century, and takes place every four years. Recent ISECS conferences have been held in Dublin (1999), Los Angeles (2003), Montpellier (2007) and Graz (2011). The 14th ISECS Congress will be organized in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from 26 to 31 July 2015. It is organized by the Dutch-Belgian Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies (DBSECS - Werkgroep 18e Eeuw) and is hosted by the Erasmus University Rotterdam on Campus Woudestein.

Of bees and baffled naturalists

In a nutshell, my research explores the ways in which eighteenth-century French thinkers were transformed by their engagement with insects. Thanks to a generous grant from the Voltaire Foundation, I had the opportunity to study the large collections of letters exchanged between the most important observers of insects of the Enlightenment – mainly Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur and Charles Bonnet – held at the archives of the Académie des Sciences in Paris and of the Bibliothèque de Genève.

Turkish catechism (En hommage à Voltaire)

THE FRENCHMAN: Is it true that your Sultan can marry hundreds of wives who are kept in a forbidden place known as a ‘harem’, to which, apart from the Sultan himself, only eunuchs have access, men whom our Voltaire describes as chaponnés? Is it true that their job is to keep the harem tidy, to sort out squabbles between inmates, and to make sure that whichever wife the Sultan has chosen for the night is epilated, bathed and perfumed ready for her master’s bed? Is it also true that only one wife is permitted to bear the children that will constitute the royal bloodline?

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