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The Story of an Architect King

Stanislas Leszczynski in Lorraine 1737-1766


Renata Tyszczuk

In this book the author explores the representational strategies of the modern period and their relation to political life through the story of Stanislas Leszczynski, architect king and roi bienfaisant, ‘a king that does good’. The ingredients of his story are compelling. They include: an exiled king (who makes a cameo appearance in Voltaire’s Candide and corresponds with Rousseau); a collection of writings that include aphorisms, political treatises, and a utopian novel; gardens that include a grotto of eighty-six life-size automata and an experimental village of courtiers; and architecture and landscapes that traverse the contested boundaries of central Europe, imaginary constructions of the orient, and the borderlines between fact and fiction. These come together to make a distinctive account of the transitional period in eighteenth-century culture. Stanislas’ architectural and literary works were rooted in an acceptance of the uncertainty of the world more characteristic of the story. His ‘hope of a better age’ emerges as an endeavour – through the writing and the architecture – to find one’s own meaning in history as well as a model for the good life. His story suggests a way of exploring what this struggle still entails today.

BIC Classifications

  • The arts (A)
    • Art forms (AF)
      • Painting & paintings (AFC)
    • Architecture (AM)
  • Literature & literary studies (D)
    • Literature: history & criticism (DS)
      • Literary studies: general (DSB)
  • Humanities (H)
    • History (HB)
      • History: theory & methods (HBA)
      • History: earliest times to present day (HBL)
        • Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700 (HBLH)
      • History: specific events & topics (HBT)
        • Social & cultural history (HBTB)

BISAC Classifications

  • Architecture (ARC)
    • ARCHITECTURE / General (ARC000000)
  • Art (ART)
    • ART / Color Theory (ART007000)
  • History (HIS)
    • HISTORY / General (HIS000000)
    • HISTORY / Europe / General (HIS010000)
    • HISTORY / Europe / France (HIS013000)
  • Literary Criticism (LIT)
    • LITERARY CRITICISM / European / French (LIT004150)

THEMA Classifications

  • The Arts (A)
    • Fine arts: art forms (AF)
      • Painting & paintings (AFC)
    • Architecture (AM)
  • Biography, Literature & Literary studies (D)
    • Literature: history & criticism (DS)
      • Literary studies: general (DSB)
  • History & Archaeology (N)
    • History (NH)
      • History: theory & methods (NHA)
      • European history (NHD)
      • History: specific events & topics (NHT)
        • Social & cultural history (NHTB)
        • Oral history (NHTD)
  • Children’s, Teenage & Educational (Y)
    • Educational material (YP)
      • Educational: Arts, general (YPA)
  • Geographical qualifiers (1)
    • Europe (1D)
      • Western Europe (1DD)
        • France (1DDF)
  • Time period qualifiers (3)
    • c 1500 onwards to present day (3M)
      • 17th century, c 1600 to c 1699 (3MG)
      • 18th century, c 1700 to c 1799 (3ML)
        • Later 18th century c 1750 to c 1799 (3MLQ)
  • Style qualifiers (6)
    • Styles (A) (6A)
      • Arts & Crafts style (6AF)
    • Styles (C) (6C)
      • Color Field painting (6CH)