New Study on Emblems Published

New Study on Emblems Published

“While emblematics of four hundred years ago may sound a rather esoteric subject, appealing only to specialist authors, they are in fact of widespread interest as a form of communication that can still be traced today, for example, in modern advertising”. Professor Alison Saunders

AProfessor Alison Saunders of the Department of French at the University of Aberdeen has just published two significant books on French emblems.

Emblems are the bringing together of word and image, or text and picture, in a particularly interdependent way, in order to convey a message. While emblematics of four hundred years ago may sound a rather esoteric subject, appealing only to specialist authors, they are in fact of widespread interest as a form of communication that can still be traced today, for example, in modern advertising.

The most recent publication is The Seventeenth-Century French Emblem: a Study in Diversity (2000, Geneva, Droz, pp.xiii + 437, ISBN:2-600-00452-1). Internationally recognised as a leading authority on her subject, Professor Saunders has previously published extensively on French emblem literature, including an earlier book on sixteenth-century French emblems.

In her new book on seventeenth-century emblems, Professor Saunders demonstrates their widespread use, not just in books but in a variety of other forms - in art, architecture, theatre, street decoration, firework display, designs for craftsmen and so on. In the seventeenth century emblems came to be used in new specialised ways for educational purposes, and in devotional religious literature. Most spectacularly they were heavily exploited as a tool of royal propaganda, particularly during the reign of the ‘Sun King’, Louis XIV. She discusses also the extensive theoretical literature about emblems and their uses.

Professor Saunders has also recently published, together with two colleagues from the University of Glasgow, A Bibliography of French Emblem Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, vol. 1 (1999, Geneva, Droz, pp.xxx + 670, ISBN: 2-600-00357-6).

The Bibliography of French Emblem Books has already been acclaimed by critics as ‘a model of scrupulous scholarship’, ‘a summa of good bibliographical practice’ which will take ‘its place as a standard work of reference in academic libraries, providing indispensable information’. As one critic writes: ‘the thought of Volume 2 sets the pulses racing’.

Professor Saunders is currently Head of Aberdeen’s Department of French The Department is rated ‘Excellent’ for its teaching and at 4 (the second highest grade) for its research. In the most recent Times Good Universities Guide the Department was ranked not just as the best Department of French in Scotland but as the fifth best in the whole of the UK.

Further information from:

Professor Alison Saunders, University of Aberdeen, Tel: 01224 272155

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email a.ramsay@admin.abdn.ac.uk.

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