Local colour is an undertheorized notion. Although the expression itself is nowadays used in everyday speech in both French and English, its ‘domestication’ only further highlights the need for a clarifying study of this concept, which has come to be crucial in aesthetic debates. From the seventeenth-century rift between ‘Poussinistes’ and ‘Rubénistes’, to the genesis of Romanticist aesthetic theories in early nineteenth-century France, to the North American regionalist prose of the
Local colour movement; from Roger de Piles, to Benjamin Constant, Victor Hugo, Prosper Mérimée, and Hamlin Garland, this book sets out to map for the first time
couleur locale’s three-hundred-year journey across centuries, languages and genres. In addition to proposing a genealogy of the concept and the paths of its semantic evolution, it also initiates a reflection on the factors that could have prompted the mobility of the term across cultures, art forms and their metalanguages.