- What was ‘privilege’ in the Old Regime?
- How ‘absolute’ was ‘absolutism’? Is it a useful term?
- How was the nobility transformed across the 18th century?
- J. Popkin, A History of Modern France, chps 1-3.
- For further detail (but make sure to leave time for week 2's readings), see W. Doyle (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Regime [electronic resource, available through library]:
Chapter 2, Peter Campbell, ‘Absolute Monarchy’
Chapter 7, John Shovlin, ‘Nobility’
Chapter 9, Gail Bossenga, ‘Estates, Orders and Corps’
Chapter 10, Alan Forrest, ‘Poverty’
Chapter 23, Mark Ledbury, ‘Patronage’
- W. Doyle (ed.), Old Regime France: 1648-1788 (2001)
- P. Campbell (ed.), The Origins of the French Revolution (2005)
- T. Kaiser and D. Van Kley, From Deficit to Deluge: The Origins of the French Revolution (2010)
- C. Jones, The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon (2003)
- D. Parker, Class and State in Ancien Regime France: The Road to Modernity? (1997)
- J. B. Collins, The State in Early Modern France (2009)
- J. Swann, Politics and the Parlement of Paris under Louis XV, 1754-1774 (1995)
- J. F. Bosher, French finances, 1770-1795 : from business to bureaucracy (1970)
- J. Egret, The French Pre-revolution, 1787-1788 (1977)
- J. Hardman, Ouverture to Revolution: The 1787 Assembly of Notables and the Crisis of France’s Old Regime (2010)
- S. Kaplan, Bread, Politics, and Political Economy in the Reign of Louis XV, 2 vols. (1976)
- J. Smith, Nobility Reimagined: The Patriotic Nation in Eighteenth-century France (2005)
- R. Blaufarb, The French Army, 1750-1820: Careers, Talent, Merit (2002)
- S. Miller, State and Society in Eighteenth-Century France: A Study of Political Power and Social Revolution in Languedoc (2008)
- S. Desan, L. Hunt and W. M. Nelson, The French Revolution in Global Perspective (2013), esp. part 1.
- C. Crowston, Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675–1791 (2002)
- J. Shovlin, The political economy of virtue : luxury, patriotism, and the origins of the French Revolution (2006)
- J. Ravel, The Would-Be Commoner: A Tale of Deception, Murder, and Justice in Seventeenth-Century France (2008)
- W. Beik, ‘The Absolutism of Louis XIV as Social Collaboration’, Past and Present, no. 188 (2005)
- G. Rowlands, The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV. Royal Service and Private Interest, 1661 to 1701 (2002)
- Arlette Farge, Fragile Lives: Violence, Power, and Solidarity in Eighteenth-Century Paris (1986)
- D. Van Kley, The Religious Origins of the French Revolution From Calvin to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, 1560-1791 (1996)
- D. Roche, The People of Paris: An Essay in Popular Culture in the 18th Century (1987)
- D. Roche, France in the Enlightenment (2000)
- D. Roche, A History of Everyday Things: The Birth of Consumption in France, 1600-1800 (2000)
- R. Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984)