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Saint Bartholomews Day Massacre [Hardcover]

Arlette Jouanna

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Book Description

1 Mar 2013
On 18 August 1572, Paris hosted the lavish wedding of Marguerite de Valois and Henri de Navarre, which was designed to seal the reconciliation of France s Catholics and Protestants. Only six days later, the execution, on the orders of the king s council, of the Protestant leaders unleashed a vast massacre by Catholics of thousands of Protestants in Paris and elsewhere. How did the celebration of concord give way so quickly to an explosion of violence, and the preventitive execution of a few leaders to unrestrained carnage? Who were the key players in these terrible events? Arlette Jouanna re-interprets the worst massacre in early modern European history, rejecting most of the established accounts, especially those privileging conspiracy. Instead, she views the decision to resort to summary justice as an attempt, based on reason of state, to preserve the king s endangered authority. The tragedy stimulated widespread reflection on the foundations of royal power, the limits of authority and obedience, and the danger of religious division for France s political traditions. Such reflection helped steer France in the direction of royal absolutism. This nuanced and wide-ranging account, based on extensive new research and a careful examination of the existing historiography, is the most authoritative analysis of its subject, and written in a style that will appeal to both specialist historians and a wider public seeking to examine the European roots of the connections between religion and violence.

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Review

Arlette Jouanna is one of the finest historians writing about early modern France today, but apart from academic specialists of the period, she is virtually unknown in the Anglophone world because virtually none of her work has previously been translated into English. Thus, the recent publication by the Manchester University Press of an English translation of her book, The Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, is a real cause for celebration. Not only will this book bring her scholarship to a much wider leadership around the globe, but it will also help resolve one of the most difficult tasks for all historians of early modern France: how to explain satisfactorily the events that made up the St. Bartholomew's Day massacres in 1572. Above all, Jouanna's account examines all the available primary sources for the reader in a systematic way. And this, in my view, is her primary contribution. Anyone wishing to continue further research on Saint Bartholomew's Day now can start here and find all the primary and principal secondary sources in one place. -- Mack P. Holt. H-France Forum: Volume 8, Issue 3 (Summer 2013), No. 2 This excellent book offers both a thorough re-evaluation of the primary sources for the Massacre and a careful assessment of the secondary works. Adding to the value of the book is Joseph Bergin's highly readable translation. This should become the first book that anyone with a scholarly interest in St. Bartholomew's Massacre will read. -- Frederic J. Baumgartner. Book Reviews

About the Author

Arlette Jouanna is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Montpellier-III, France. Joseph Bergin is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Manchester, Fellow of the British Academy and Correspondant Entranger, Institut de France

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