Old Regime France, 1648-1788

Old Regime France, 1648-1788

Old Regime France, 1648-1788

Old Regime France, 1648-1788


The kingdom of France, a byword for upheaval and instability for a century before 1660, was transformed over the subsequent generation into the greatest power in Europe and an institutional model admired and imitated almost everywhere. A further century elapsed befoer this hegemony waschallenged, and even then the collapse of monarchy in 1788 took most people by surprise. This book, bringing together an authoritative international panel of historians, portrays and analyses the life of France between two revolutions, a time later known as the old regime. All aspects of French lifeare covered: the economy, social development, religion and culture, French activity overseas, and not least politics and public life, where our understanding has been completely renewed over recent years. A detailed chronology and full bibliography complete this compelling analysis of an age behindwhose calm and assured facade forces were developing which were to shape a very different country and continent.


During the twentieth century, French historians revolutionized the study of history itself, opening up countless new subjects, problems, and approaches to the past. Much of this imaginative energy was focused on the history of their own country––its economy, its society, its culture, its memories. In the century's later years this exciting atmosphere inspired increasing numbers of outsiders to work on French themes, so that, more than for any other country, writing the history of France has become an international enterprise.

This series seeks to reflect these developments. Each volume is coordinated by an editor widely recognised as a historian of France. Each editor in turn has brought together a group of contributors to present particular aspects of French history, identifying the major themes and features in the light of the most recent scholarship. All the teams are international, reflecting the fact that there are now probably more university historians of France outside the country than in it. Nor is the outside world neglected in the content of each volume, where French activity abroad receives special coverage. Apart from this, however, the team responsible for each volume has chosen its own priorities, presenting what it sees as the salient characteristics of its own period. Some have chosen to offer stimulating reinterpretations of established themes; others have preferred to explore long-neglected or entirely new topics which they believe now deserve emphasis. All the volumes have an introduction and conclusion by their editor, and include an outline chronology, plentiful maps, and a succinct guide to further reading in English.

Running from Clovis to Chirac, the seven volumes in the series offer a lively, concise, and authoritative guide to the history of a country and a culture which have been central to the whole development of Europe, and often widely influential in the world beyond.

William Doyle

University of Bristol . . .

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