Paris in the Age of Absolutism: An Essay

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9780271022215: Paris in the Age of Absolutism: An Essay

By the 18th century Paris was one of the great wonders of Europe, renowned for its magnificent royal monuments and as a centre for science, literature and the arts. More so than any other European city, Paris reflected the spirit of an age - an age that reached its zenith with the reign of France's Sun King, Louis XIV. First published in 1968, this book attempts to capture that spirit. In his exploration of Parisian history, Orest Ranum ranges widely through the streets and quarters of the city, attentive to the achievements of town planners, architects and engineers, as well as to city politics, social currents and the spirit of religious reform. Behind it all lay the rule-creating authoritarianism of the absolute state, which, ironically, unleashed Parisians' creative impulses in everything from literature, painting and music to architecture, mathematics and physics.

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About the Author:

Orest Ranum is Professor of History Emeritus at The Johns Hopkins University. His most recent book is The Fronde: A French Revolution (1993).

Review:

"The new edition of Paris in the Age of Absolutism, beautifully produced by Pennsylvania State University Press and sumptuously illustrated, is very welcome. The first edition was an innovative political history, elegantly written, and displaying great sensitivity to the role of urban planning, architecture, and the culture of the French and Parisian elites. It retains all of these qualities, even after so long, and is still a pleasure to read. It is fascinating to observe just how far ahead Ranum's original work was, in certain respects, of much that was being written in the late 1960s.... His global vision of seventeenth-century Parisian politics as a struggle between a religious idiom and a 'heroic,' chivalric noble culture, with the absolute monarchy skillfully using elements of both in order to transcend both, remains a challenging and valuable one for both students and scholars." --David Garrioch, H-France

"This is a welcome new edition of a classic work. Orest Ranum vividly depicts Paris's transformation from a somber medieval city devastated by war to the grand New Rome of Louis XIV. Impressionistic and intense, this book captures well the evolving moods of Paris's citizenry and the values imposed by its dominant elite." --Barbara Diefendorf, Boston University

"Since its original publication in 1968, no book has matched Orest Ranum's captivating and wide-ranging account of Paris in the seventeenth century, when she emerges as a great capital city. Combining fine-grained insights with a vivid portrait of urban life, this book explains the importance of Paris in French history and confirms Ranum's standing as the finest historian of seventeenth-century France writing in the English language today." --Hilary Ballon, Columbia University"

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Ranum, Orest
Published by Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pa (2002)
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