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Creole MedievalismColonial France and Joseph Bédier's Middle Ages$
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Michelle R. Warren

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665259

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665259.001.0001

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Medieval and Colonial Attractions

Medieval and Colonial Attractions

Chapter:
(p.26) Chapter 2 Medieval and Colonial Attractions
Source:
Creole Medievalism
Author(s):

Michelle R. Warren

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816665259.003.0002

This chapter examines the public performance of national and imperial identities. On the popular level, medievalism and colonialism came together monumentally each time France put itself on display for the expositions universelles, or World Fairs, hosted in Paris. Through reconstructions of medieval and colonial buildings, organizers encouraged millions of visitors to draw parallels between distant times and distant places. They grounded national identity in the prestige of both medievalism and colonialism, enlisting both in the service of a triumphant modernity. The exhibits from Réunion, for their part, vividly crystallized creoles’ dreams of imperial prominence. To this end, the island’s pavilions in the 1920s and 1930s showcased Joseph Bédier’s scholarly publications, turning the famous medievalist into an icon of both colonial achievement and the nation’s most cherished ideals.

Keywords:   public performance, imperial identities, medievalism, colonialism, expositions universelles, World Fairs, Paris, national identity, modernity, Réunion

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