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The Old Regime

Seminar Questions

  • 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?

Core Reading

  • 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’

Further reading

  • 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)