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Maxime Martignon

Rumors from overseas at Louis XIV’s era: verification and deformation of news in erudite letters

Le Temps des médias n° 30, Printemps 2018, p. 124-139.

DrapeauFrancais

How an information were considered as true or false in Louis XIVth era and good for publication? Focusing on news circulation from extra-European worlds, by nature uncertain, and actors of these publication it’s possible to describe the process of verification of their content. Using printed sources (gazette, mercure, books) as well as handwritten sources (hand newsletters and letters) about the same event permit to illustrate several publication’s aim and how the news support and narrative variated several times. Michel Begon, Rochefort’s intendant, is the correspondent of Esprit Cabart de Villermont who’s connected to journalists : Donneau de Visé, author of the Mercure Galant especially. In letters, the news is accredited by a series of writing process in order to check the integrity of transmission and the fact that an event occurred. This has to be distinguished from a second step where the information is written for its publication: issues are no more about fact but politics. Is it wise to publish a news ? News is deemed real by the sheer act of writing and publishing them. This also commits the credibility of the publisher. To this point narrative had also to be appropriate in the Navy political field as well as in the Louis XIV’s absolutist aim in order to be published with a limited consideration for the truth. Because publication credit engage intermediary credit, avoiding an information obviously fake were necessary : it has to remain believable to not harm those who transmitted it.

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