The Mazarin Salon: French Exiles in Seventeenth-Century London
Annalisa Nicholson: The Mazarin Salon: French Exiles in Seventeenth-Century London
This thesis examines the history and literary output of the Mazarin salon, which was formed by French exiles Hortense Mancini, Duchesse de Mazarin, and Charles de Saint-Évremond. Established in London in 1676, the Mazarin salon brought together the capital’s growing community of French exiles with Restoration London’s elite to converse, to perform, and to participate in Anglo-French cultural exchange. Although salon culture is a burgeoning field within early modern French studies, the Mazarin salon has rarely been studied and no monograph has been devoted to the subject, probably owing to the salon’s location outside of France. In attending to this salon, this project investigates what happens when the model of the salon moves beyond France’s borders and becomes a space devoted to the survival of its exile community.
The thesis is divided into six parts with an introduction, four chapters, and a conclusion. The introduction sets out the stakes of the project alongside a literature review on the Mazarin salon. Chapter One traces the formation of the Mazarin salon, beginning with the Royalist exile in Paris in the 1650s that set the foundations for Anglo-French friendships and collaborations, which are then reinforced with the resettling of numerous French exiles in London from the 1660s onwards. Chapter Two turns to the salon's sensory environment, establishing its size, location, and interior experience. Chapter Three examines the religious dynamics of the salon as a space occupied by Catholics, Huguenots, Anglicans, and Dutch and Italian Protestants to consider the negotiation of religious difference. Chapter Four focuses on the salon’s operas, written and performed by its members to an intimate audience, to think about how they constitute the salon’s self-fashioning. The conclusion draws together the previous four chapters and argues that, in translating the model of the salon beyond France's borders, the salon becomes a pan-European space, combining its French roots with a more diffuse, continental identity.