Changing Identities in Early Modern France

Changing Identities in Early Modern France

Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: 10 b&w photographs Published: April 1997

History > European History, Pre-Modern Studies > Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Changing Identities in Early Modern France offers new interpretations of what it meant to be French during a period of profound transition, from the outbreak of the Hundred Years War to the consolidation of the Bourbon monarchy in the seventeenth century. As medieval notions were gradually replaced by new definitions of the state, society, and family, dynastic struggles and religious wars raised questions about loyalty and identity and destabilized the meaning of "Frenchness."
After examining the interplay between competing ideologies and public institutions, from the monarchy to the Parlement of Paris to the aristocratic household, the volume explores the dynamics of deviance and dissent, particularly in regard to women’s roles in religious reform movements and such sensationalized phenomena as the witch hunts and infanticide trials. Concluding essays examine how regional and confessional identities reshaped French identity in response to the discovery of the New World and the spectacular spread of Calvinism.

Contributors. Charmarie Blaisdell, William Bouwsma, Lawrence M. Bryant, Denis Crouzet, Robert Descimon, Barbara B. Diefendorf, Richard M. Golden, Sarah Hanley, Mack P. Holt, Donald R. Kelley, Kristen B. Neuschel, J. H. M. Salmon, Zachary Sayre Schiffman, Silvia Shannon, Alfred Soman, Michael Wolfe


“[Changing Identities in Early Modern France] will be much used, as scholars working on a myriad of issues will find here seminal articles, engagingly written. . . . The collection assembled by Michael Wolfe is wonderfully rich, diverse, and instructive, and it is to be recommended to serious readers among early modern scholars and the many other societies engaged in questions of national self-awareness and formation. Changing Identities is both a demanding and an enjoyable read, which will divert the idly curious as effectively as it expands the understanding of scholars.” — Donald A. Bailey , Canadian Journal of History

“[T]hese [are] engaging and stimulating essays. . . . Mirroring [Nancy] Roelker’s impeccable scholarship, the essays are uniformly of high quality and will be of special interest to historians of early modern France.” — Philip F. Riley , History

“Sparkling and original.” — David A. Bell, American Historical Review

“The contributors form a prestigious cast. . . . [T]here is much here to attract those interested in gender and identity in early modern France. . . . [The book] deserve[s] a wide audience. . . [and] there is much to recommend it as a source of insight and scholarship into important themes in early modern French history.” — Penny Roberts, French History

“The range of the contributions, and their overall quality, makes this collection a welcome addition to our understanding of early modern France.” — David Hartley , Renaissance Studies

Changing Identities in Early Modern France is an outstanding volume. Michael Wolfe has done a superb job.” — Carolyn Chappell Lougee, Stanford University

“This volume presents both new material and new interpretation. The scholarship is superior. Historians will welcome its publication.” — Jonathan Dewald, State University of New York at Buffalo


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Price: $30.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Michael Wolfe is Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, Altoona.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Natalie Zemon Davis v

Introduction: Becoming French in Early Modern Europe / Michael Wolfe 1

I. Ideologies and Institutions 23

The French Romantics and the Renaissance / J. H. M. Salmon 25

Making History: Ceremonial Texts, Royal Space, and Political Theory in the Sixteenth Century / Lawrence M. Bryant 46

Identity Politics and Rulership in France: Female Political Place and the Fraudulent Salic Law in Christine de Pizan and Jean de Montreuil / Sarah Hanley 78

The Birth of the Nobility of the Robe: Dignity versus Privilege in the Parlement of Paris, 1500–1700 / Robert Descimon 95

Noblewomen and War in Sixteenth-Century France / Kristen B. Neuschel 124

II. Dissent and Deviance 145

Religion, Gender, and Class: Nuns and Authority in Early Modern France / Charmaine Blaisdell 147

An Age of Gold? Parisian Women, the Holy League, and the Roots of Catholic Renewal / Barbara B. Diefendorf 169

A Woman and the Devil: Possession and Exorcism in Sixteenth-Century France / Denis Crouzet 191

Satan in Europe: The Geography of Witch Hunts / Richard M. Golden 216

Anatomy of an Infanticide Trial: The Case of Marie-Jeanne Bartonnet (1742) / Alfred Soman 248

III. Identities in Flux 273

New World, Old Historiography / Donald R. Kelley 275

Montaigne and the Discovery of the Ordinary / William Bouwsma 294

An Intellectual in Politics: Montaigne as Mayor of Bordeaux / Zachary Sayre Schiffman 307

Villegagnon, Polyphemus, and Cain of America: Religion and Polemics in the French New World / Silvia Shannon 325

Burgundians into Frenchmen: Catholic Identity in Sixteenth-Century Burgundy / Mack P. Holt 345

Protestant Reactions to the Conversion of Henry IV / Michael Wolfe 371

Index 391

Contributors 409
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1913-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1908-5
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