The Sun King's Atlantic

Drugs, Demons and Dyestuffs in the Atlantic World, 1640 - 1730


In The Sun King’s Atlantic, Jutta Wimmler reveals the many surprising ways in which the Atlantic world channeled cultural developments during the age of the Sun King. Although hardly visible for contemporaries at the time, Africa and America were omnipresent throughout early modern France: in the textile industry, pharmaceutics, medicine, scientific methods, religious discourse, and court theatre. The book moves beyond typical plantation crops and the slave trade to illustrate how a focus on Europe challenges us to rethink the place of Africa in the early modern world.

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Jutta Wimmler, Ph.D. (2011), University of Graz (Austria), is a researcher and lecturer at the European University Viadrina, Germany. She has published several articles about Africa’s impact on Europe, most recently in the Journal of Religion in Africa.
"Wimmler's monograph shows how widespread and pervasive the impact of French expansion in the Atlantic world on French society was. Further investigation in this field would lead us to a better understanding of the two-way influence between the overseas expansion of European countries all over the world and European countries today."

Valentina Bryndina, Institute for African Studiesof the Russian Academy of Sciences
in H-Net Reviews / H-Africa (

"Her [Jutta Wimmler's] book comprises an invaluable contribution to the important process of rethinking the early French Atlantic, precisely because she looks not just at the economics or politics of the Atlantic colonies but also at how the French themselves struggled to conceptualize their colonies within the context of France’s cultural and political priorities. She also adopts an approach increasingly favored by scholars of the Atlantic world that emphasizes not just how Europeans influenced the other parts of the world with which they traded or in which they planted colonies but also how material and cultural exchanges with the New World, Africa, or Asia influenced Europe and, in Wimmler’s study, “transformed France” (p. 3). Wimmler’s approach opens a rich area of potential research that has not received sufficient scholarly attention. The influx of material and non-material culture from the New World preceded rather than followed the creation of France’s colonial empire and shaped the French conceptualization of their empire. This is the important point that Wimmler grasps in this book and the theme that holds the book together."
- Gayle K. Brunelle (California State University, Fullerton), H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences, August, 2017, pp. 1 - 3
1. Introduction

2. Sugar and Slaves? French Atlantic Trade before 1730

3. The Fashionable Atlantic: Innovation and Consumption

4. Body Matters: Remedies, Foodstuffs and Cosmetics

5. The Iatrochemical Advantage: Methods for an Expanding World

6. Perfect French Subjects: Staging the Atlantic World

7. Devils and Martyrs: Religious Concepts Travel the Globe

8. Epilogue

Scholars and students of Atlantic History, as well as those interested in early modern France, material culture, medical history, and comparative religion.
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