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Social Relations, Politics, and Power in Early Modern France: Robert Descimon and the Historian's Craft

by Barbara B Diefendorf Truman State University
Pub Date:
Hbk 320 pages
AU$89.00 NZ$94.78
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The study of history is a fundamentally sociable practice, with the exchange of ideas taking place in writing, over the seminar table, and often in informal discussions over food. These essays grew out of a web of sociability centered around French historian Robert Descimon, and focus on the nexus of social relations, politics, and power in France as it moved from the age of religious wars into the age of absolutism. Using a wide variety of historical approaches and methods, these essays offer new insights into the evolving role of early modern elites and the social, familial, and cultural influences that shaped their values and priorities.

Introduction: Robert Descimon and the Historian’s Craft

by Barbara B. Diefendorf

1. Robert Descimon, the Annales Tradition, and the Social History of the Ruling Classes

by Jonathan Dewald

2. Law and Social History in Early Modern France

by Michael P. Breen

3. Local Officials and Torture in Seventeenth-­Century Bordeaux

by Sara Beam

4. Urban Elites and Politics in Sixteenth-­Century Dijon

by Mack P. Holt

5. The Notary as Rural Power Broker: Maître Coujard and Pierre Collenot, Syndic of Alligny

by James B. Collins

6. Reading Municipal Lists, Interpreting Civic Practice from the Insights of Robert Descimon to Seventeenth-­Century Bourges

by Hilary J. Bernstein

7. Qui étaient les députés? An Unknown Group of Protestant Leaders on the Eve of the First War of Religion

by Philip J. Benedict

8. Civic Engagement and Public Assistance in Sixteenth-­Century Paris

by Barbara B. Diefendorf

9. Unfinished Business: An Edition of the “Manuscript History of the League”

by Mark Greengrass, with Marco Penzi and Mark Critchlow

10. Gallicans Not Magistrates: The Dupuy Cabinet in the Age of Richelieu

by Robert A. Schneider

11. Intellectual Trajectories and Relationships of a French Historian

by Robert Descimon

Bibliography of Robert Descimon’s Writings




“The selections in this volume build on Robert Descimon’s critical work on the workings and nature of the early modern state by focusing on the complexities underlying actions and contentions among French elites during the crucial transition to Bourbon rule.”

—Michael Wolfe, Queens College, CUNY

Barbara B. Diefendorf (PhD, University of California–­Berkeley) is professor of history emerita at Boston University. Her books include Paris City Councillors in the Sixteenth Century: The Politics of Patrimony (1983), Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris (1991), and From Penitence to Charity: Pious Women and the Catholic Reformation in Paris (2004, winner of the J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association). She is currently completing a book manuscript on the contested early stages of France’s Catholic Reformation.