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Paris in the Age of Absolutism: An Essay Paperback – 2 Nov 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press; Revised and Expanded edition (2 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 027102531X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271025315
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,360,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"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

"Cities do not grow beautiful by chance. None have. A fact forcibly brought home in [this] brilliant book. . . . Here we see how Paris grew, not only in people, in commerce, in riches, but also how it became a symbol, an expression of the aspiration of Louis XIV and his minister, Colbert, who wished to emulate Augustan Rome. *From the original edition"

--J. H. Plumb, Saturday Review

"Since its original publication in 1968, no book has matched Orest Ranum's captivating and wide-ranging account of Paris in the 17th 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

"It was, and still is, an intricate blend of architectural, economic, social, political, and intellectual history, coming together to produce a powerful impression upon the reader."

--Paul Sonnino, History

"When travelers take a walk around twenty-first century Paris, they should take Orest Ranum's Paris in the Age of Absolutism with them."

--Michael R. Lynn, Sixteenth Century Journal

"This book, designated by Ranum as "an essay" offers a deeply interesting look at a fascinating city without necessarily trying to cover everything."

--Michael R. Lynn, Sixteenth Century Journal

"He takes the reader on a wondrous journey; Ranum clearly knows Paris well, and has walked its streets often."

--Michael R. Lynn, Sixteenth Century Journal

"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 elite. 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. While he eschews what he sees as the jargonistic language of 'political culture' and 'representations', he nevertheless uses the concepts. And 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

"But this classic--and now sumptuously produced--book is still a wonderful read, and it is good to have it available again in this mildly updated format."

--Colin Jones, European History Quarterly

"The seventeenth century comes alive... Ranum has done much to explain the place of Paris in the development of absolutism, the evolution of society during the Ancién Regime, the importance of the corporations, and the gradual alienation between Paris and the crown. * From the original edition"

--The Historian

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).

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