Pierre François-Xavier de Charlevoix, S.J.: History and the French Atlantic World in the Short Eighteenth Century, 1682-1761
Hawthorne, Margaret R.
University of Kansas
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Abstract This dissertation demonstrates that Pierre François-Xavier de Charlevoix, S.J. (1682-1761) constructed in his historical writings a French Atlantic World that evolved during what I have termed the Short Eighteenth Century. The years 1682-1761 represent Charlevoix's lifespan as well as the approximate lifespan of the French colonial enterprise on what was, for them, the far side of the Atlantic Ocean. Charlevoix wrote about his world from multiple perspectives, all of which are evident in his writings. This study examines four of Charlevoix's works, La Vie de Marie de l'Incarnation (1724), Histoire de l'Isle Espagnole (1736), Histoire de la Nouvelle France (1744), and Histoire du Paraguay (1756) to elucidate those perspectives as well as their evolutions. It is evident that Charlevoix hoped to see the French Atlantic colonial enterprise prosper, but underthe auspices of the Catholic Church. The biography of Marie de l'Incarnation indicates how critical it was for the Jesuits to guide the spiritual development of those throughout the French Atlantic World. The other three works considered here continue that theme, but also reflect Charlevoix's fading optimism regarding the French and the Jesuits and the roles they would play in the Atlantic World. By the end of the short eighteenth century, neither the French nor the Jesuits were forces with which to be reckoned, and the French Atlantic World was but a weak reflection of potential never reached.
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- History Dissertations and Theses 
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