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In May 1758, a bailiff named Jean Moriceau de La Motte was arrested for carrying seditious flyers and uttering mauvais discours against Louis XV. When he was questioned at the Bastille over the next several months, La Motte was unequivocal in his loyalty to the king, but his insistence failed to convince the police and probably hurt his case more than would have a simple admission of guilt. He was sentenced to be hanged on the Place de Grève after making his amends on the steps of Nôtre Dame. His punishment seemed severe, if not unwarranted, to an increasingly literate and informed Parisian populace that found censorship hard to support, either theoretically or practically, in the face of intellectual and cultural changes wrought by the Enlightenment.
By looking at the police files for cases such as La Motte's, Lisa Jane Graham uncovers fascinating clues to the conflicting attitudes of eighteenth-century French subjects toward royal authority. Individuals like La Motte often failed to see the subversive implications of their words and protested their fidelity to the king in impassioned language. The crown's inability or refusal to accommodate a wider range of political speech turned the opinions of these indivduals into bitter grievances and sometimes crimes. Ironically, the decision to repress seditious speech not only alienated essentially loyal French men and women; by marking them as opponents of monarchical authority, it strengthened their sense of their own autonomy and legitimacy as social actors.
The complex and surprising web of motivations lying at the heart of such loyalty, as revealed in the police files Graham examines, undermines some deeply rooted assumptions about the Enlightenment and its links to modernity. Graham's book presents the eighteenth century as the critical historical moment for studying how the premodern virtue of loyalty gave way to new ideas and vocabularies about the relationship between individuals and government. If the King Only Knew attests to the powerful emotional and ideological conflicts this difficult transition unleashed.
About the Author:
Lisa Jane Graham is Associate Professor of History at Haverford College.
Title: If the King Only Knew: Seditious Speech in ...
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Publication Date: 2000
Book Condition: New
Edition: First Edition - may be Reissue.
Book Description University of Virginia Press. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. An ex-library book and may have standard library stamps and/or stickers. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0813919274I4N10
Book Description University of Virginia Press, 2000. Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory # 0813919274-2-4
Book Description Brand: University of Virginia Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: VERY GOOD. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # 0813919274_abe_vg
Book Description University of Virginia Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # mon0001288637
Book Description Brand: University of Virginia Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: GOOD. Has little wear to the cover and pages. Contains some markings such as highlighting and writing. Seller Inventory # 0813919274_abe_gd
Book Description University of Virginia Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Seller Inventory # SONG0813919274
Book Description University of Virginia Press. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. 0813919274 2000; Virginia; black cloth covered boards with purple titles; dust jacket; very mild shelf wear; interior clean and unmarked; 8vo - over 7 3/4" to 9 3/4" tall; 324 pages. Seller Inventory # SKU1127297
Book Description Brand: University of Virginia Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: LIKE NEW. Publisher overstock copy. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Seller Inventory # 0813919274_abe_ln
Book Description University of Virginia Press, 2000. Condition: UsedAcceptable. book. Seller Inventory # M0813919274_4
Book Description Brand: University of Virginia Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: BRAND NEW. Seller Inventory # 0813919274_abe_bn