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The Garden of Illusions

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France is characterised by strong centralisation that is generally hostile towards differences. Yet, it is one of the countries where architectural regionalism is expressed with the most vigour. One could interpret this phenomenon as a reaction against the system of standardisation. However, a close analysis of the conditions in which these buildings were produced indicates that, on the contrary, encouraging regionalism could be a strategy of the central power—the latter aimed at dissimulating, behind a deceitful decoration, its continuous effort of levelling the authentic differences which, nevertheless, persist. Versailles could represent a relevant metaphor for understanding this paradox: the irreproachable ordonnance of the garden à la française is untarnished by the intrusion of the picturesque hamlet of Trianon.

Keywords: Aestheticisation; Brittany; Centralism; Folklore; House type; Language; Nation; Picturesque; Return of the Repressed; State

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-09-01

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