This article examines how four French memorialists recall and represent the former imperial territories of the Illyrian Provinces (1809–1813) on the eastern Adriatic seaboard. It explores how their memoirs deploy Enlightenment ethnography and Romantic exoticism in distinct ways while problematizing these approaches in light of lived experiences in the region. The article thus sheds light on the evolving character of tropes about the western Balkans in early nineteenth-century France, highlighting the influence the landscapes, cultures, and peoples of the territories had on the French officials posted there, including on their later self-presentation as memorialists.
David McCallamis Reader in French Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of Sheffield, UK. He has published widely on the literature and culture of the long eighteenth century in France and in Europe. His most recent monograph is Volcanoes in Eighteenth-Century Europe: An Essay in Environmental Humanities (Liverpool: LUP, 2019). Current research interests include early modern translation, literature and “aliveness,” and eighteenth-century travel writing especially in the mountains of Europe. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org