L'Université De Caen Aux XVe et XVIe Siècles. Identité et Représentation

By Farge, James K. | The Catholic Historical Review, July 2007 | Go to article overview

L'Université De Caen Aux XVe et XVIe Siècles. Identité et Représentation


Farge, James K., The Catholic Historical Review


L'Université de Caen aux XVe et XVIe siècles. Identité et représentation. By Lyse Roy. [Education and Society in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Vol. 24.] (Leiden: BriËAcademicPubËshers. 2006. Pp.xii, 314. $l6l.00;eurol 19.00.)

Lyse Roy's dissertation on the University of Caen was defended in 1994 at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She has wisely taken several years of reflection and additional research before turning it into this comprehensive, weU-organized book that duly acknowledges the work of her predecessors but also inteUigently exploits a surprisingly large amount of archival material: matriculation rolls, procès-verbaux of meetings, financial records, and contemporary accounts by two sisteenth-century professors. The book has a short but informative English introduction and strategicaUy placed French summaries throughout its five chapters.

The town of Caen, located in Basse Normandie near the English Channel, owed the founding of its university (1432) to the short-lived English occupation of Normandy at the end of the Hundred Years War. In 1452, the same year that King Charles VII ordered a reform of the University of Paris by the Norman cardinal archbishop of Rouen, he "recreated" the University of Caen to bolster the aUegiance of Normandy and to assure trained civË servants. Although Caen never achieved the rank enjoyed by the universities of Paris and Orléans nor even the lesser rank of Angers, Bourges, or Valence, it survived the opposition of Paris and the ambivalent stance of the powerful Parlement of Rouen to serve Normandy weU, despite several periods of institutional decline that ultimately sapped its autonomy.

Chapter 1 recounts the university's English and French origins and reviews the vicissitudes in its history over fifteen decades. Chapter 2 lays out its institutional structure (statutes, faculties, coUeges) and the inteUectual matters of curricula, degree requirements, and faculty publications. Chapter 3 fulfills the requirements of modern university history with inteUigent prosopographical analyses of students and teachers and their social status. Chapter 4 deals with the love-hate relationship with the city and citizens of Caen that aU medieval universities faced vis-à-vis the cities in which they functioned. …

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