Henri Testelin. Colbert Presenting the Members of the Royal Academy of Sciences to Louis XIV in 1667.

Oded Rabinovitch will give a lecture on Wednesday, February 20, at 6 pm. His talk is entitled “Charles Perrault Before the Fairy Tales: Seventeenth-Century Authorship, Material and Textual.”

Today, Charles Perrault is widely remembered as the author who gave canonical form to the Tales of Mother Goose, published in the 1690s. However, since his son signed their dedication manuscript, modern scholars have spilled much ink on the question of “who really wrote Perrault’s fairy tales, the father or the son?” This talk demonstrates that this is the wrong question to ask. For early modern authors, writing could be a family project, and this talk addresses two issues central to authors like the Perraults. From the material aspect, the talk shows that authors were not simply striving for remuneration through the book market or looking for personal gratifications. Rather, writing careers formed part of complex family strategies that intersected with the “Court Capitalism” emanating from the French monarchy. From the textual aspect, the talk examines the circulation of texts and images around the Perraults’ county house outside Paris. These images, and their role in the family’s strategy, help to re-think the much-debated role of “salons” in seventeenth-century culture.

Oded Rabinovitch is Senior Lecturer in the department of history at Tel Aviv University.