The long reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715) has had a lasting impact upon France. In this period a series of civil wars was concluded and the territory administered by the crown was enlarged. Royal initiatives stimulated various cultural exploits. But Louis forced as well religious uniformity upon France and his multiple wars emptied the treasury. His policies caused economic stagnation. At the completion of this course students can assess the contrasted legacy of Louis XIV's reign.
Interest for French culture, history and the competence to read French language texts are recommended.
This course offers an overview of seventeenth century French history and culture. In this period and more in particular during the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), France was known to be the strongest European power, where the central administration thightly controlled local communities. At the time French was the lingua franca of the European elites. French culture and religious debates were followed all over Europe. However, as student who follow this course will notice, nowadays historians question the nature of French absolutism. In the course the historiography of the concept 'absolutism' and an overview of political, economic, religious and cultural developments during the reign of Louis XIV will be treated. Particular emphasis will be given to phenomena as Versailles, the contribution of Jansenists to French culture and the so-called 'Querelle des anciens et des modernes'.
Slides, transparencies, courseware
Toledo / e-platform
Is also included in other courses
1. A difficult past: the Fronde.
2 & 3. Absolutism: a history of the concept.
4& 5: Louis XIV: portraits of the Sun King.
6. Foreign policy: the limits of a superpower.
7. Colbertism: biography of a minister and his policies (including colonial expansion).
9. La Querelle des anciens et des modernes.
10 & 11. Gallicanism & Jansenism.
12. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the exodus of the protestants: the toll of conformity.
13. Louis XIV as trailblazer of the French Revolution: an assessment of his reign.
Parts of the following books:
L. Bély, La France au XVIIe siècle. Puissance de lÉtat, contrôle de la société Paris, (Presses universitaires de France), 2009.
J. Carpentier en F. Lebrun (red.), Histoire de France, Paris (Éditions du Seuil. Histoire), 1987 (vele herdrukken). W. Doyle (red.), Old Regime France. 1648-1788. The Short Oxford History of France. Vol IV, Oxford etc. (OUP), 2001.