[PLACEHOLDER] Culture and Society in Early Modern France, 1500-1715


Early modern France 1500-1715

Week I (WED Aug 31): introduction

            W, lecture 1: introduction; Annales school; geography

            F, lecture 2a: demography and family

Reading: maps from Braudel, The Identity of France (in class)


Week II (Sept 5): social structures

            M (Labor Day): NO CLASS

            W, lecture 2b: life in the country

MOVIE SCREENING: "The return of Martin Guerre" Wed Sept 7, 7-9pm. TBA (this building is located at 1737 Cambridge St, room is on basement level); the DVD is also on reserve at Lamont.

            F: first section meeting

Reading: Manor life in old France from the journal of the sire de Gouberville, 1549-62, ed. Katharine W. Fedden (1933), browse and esp. 1-35, 70-79 & 210-11, 106-15, 151-60.

            Pierre Goubert, The Ancien Regime: French Society 1600-1750, pp. 45-48, 96-7, 140-44, 115-19, 121, 224-27, 278. [book on reserve under Goubert; copy in Hist Dept Library]

            Beik, pp. 1-37 (intro, ch. 1 to p. 37 when discussion turns to 18th ct), ch. 2 (pp. 43-65)


Week III (Sept 12): political structures

            M, lecture 3: the three estates; robe and sword nobility

            W, lecture 4: Renaissance monarchy

            F: discussion section

Reading: Claude de Seyssel, The Monarchy of France, parts I and II

            Beik, chs. 3 and 5. (pp. 66-96, 134-61), ch. 11 (pp. 313-25)


                                          Part II: the crises of the sixteenth century


Week IV (Sept 19): Francis I and humanism

            M, lecture 5: Paris and Renaissance art;


            W, lecture 6: Renaissance humanism

            F: discussion section

SESSION AT HOUGHTON LIBRARY FRI SEPT 23 **This is a required and especially fun part of the couse.** Meet in Houghton Lobby; pls travel light if you can--you will leave all your things in a locker. Depending on enrolment we will hold one or two sessions: 1-2:30 or 2:30-4pm

Reading: Budé, "On establishing the study of letters" and Rabelais, from Gargantua and Pantagruel, in The Northern Renaissance, ed. Lewis Spitz, pp. 48-72. (not on reserve--see course website)

            Eugene Rice and Anthony Grafton, The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, pp. 1-10 ("the invention of printing")

            Beik, ch. 4 to p. 128 (pp. 98-128) + pp. 289-94.

            Neil Kenny, An introduction to sixteenth-century French literature and thought, ch. 2 (pp. 19-39).

            Natalie Zemon Davis, "Printing and the People," in Society and Culture in Early Modern France (1965), pp. 189-226 (+ excellent footnotes!) [on-line from HOLLIS + from course website]


Week V (Sept 26): the French Reformation

            M, lecture 7: the birth and spread of Calvinism

            W, lecture 8: wars of religion

            F: discussion section

Reading: Barbara Diefendorf, Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, introduction + texts # 1-2, 5-7, 11-14, 19-23, 27-28, 31

            Beik, ch. 6 to p. 190 (pp. 164-90).

Please start THINKING ABOUT FINAL PAPER TOPICS; a useful list of primary sources available in English can be found at: https://jshare.johnshopkins.edu/myweb/davidbell/sources.html



Week VI (Oct 3): wars of religion

            M, lecture 9: Huguenot resistance theory

            W, lecture 10: Michel de Montaigne

            F: discussion section

Reading: Philippe du Plessis-Mornay, A Defense of Liberty against Tyrants, pp. 222-39 in Hans Hillerbrand ed., The Protestant Reformation

            Diefendorf, #32-36

            Bodin, Six Books of a Commonweale, in Eric Cochrane ed., Early Modern Europe: Crisis of Authority, (Chicago Readings vol 6), pp. 240-57. [book on reserve under Boyer; copy in Hist Dept Library]

            Montaigne, Essays (COOP), to the reader, I, 31 (Of cannibals); II, 11 (Of cruelty); III, 6 (Of coaches); III, 11 (Of cripples)--and any others that appeal to you.


Week VII (Oct 10): midterm

            M (Columbus Day): NO CLASS

            W: IN-CLASS MIDTERM

            F: in-class discussion of library and electronic resources for your research papers [required: takes the place of the usual discussion section]—come with ideas about your final paper topic


                                     Part III: the seventeenth century--consolidation


Week VIII (Oct 17): intellectual recovery

            M, lecture 11: French Counter-Reformation

            W, lecture 12: the "libertins érudits"


            F: discussion section

Reading: Descartes, Discourse on Method (COOP), parts I-IV, and part V 1st four paragraphs

            Pascal, Pensées (COOP), part I, sections 1-18 in Ariew ed, pp. 1-69 [=1st 19 headings in other editions of Pascal, beginning with "order" and ending with "to make religion attractive"]

            Beik, 190-200 and 294-311


Week IX (Oct 24): Louis XIII

            M, lecture 13: Louis XIII

            W, lecture 14: classical culture

            F: discussion section

Reading: Corneille, The Cid (COOP), entire

            Beik, ch. 9 (pp. 255-87)


Week X (Oct 31): the rise of Louis XIV

            M, lecture 15: resistance: peasant and urban revolts; the Fronde


            W, lecture 16: Louis XIV ascendant (1661-79)

            F: discussion section

Reading: Molière, Tartuffe (COOP), entire

            Beik, ch. 8 (pp. 224-52)


Week XI (Nov 7): later Louis XIV

office hours this week shifted from Mon 2-4 to Tues 2-4

            M, lecture 17: Versailles and the system of the court

            W, lecture 18: late Louis XIV and his crises

            F: discussion section

Reading: Mme de Sévigné, Letters (Penguin ed), pp. 67-175, 271-82.

            Fénelon, "The Condition of the French Army," "Questions for the Royal Conscience," in William F. Church ed. The impact of absolutism in France: national experience under Richelieu, Mazarin and Louis XIV, pp. 110-119.

            Beik, ch. 11, p .325-41.



                                               Part IV: Toward the Enlightenment


Week XII (Nov 14): “crisis in European consciousness,” 1680-1715

            M, lecture 19: quarrel of the ancients and the moderns


            W, lecture 20: French overseas; the early 18th-century context

            F: discussion section

Reading: Fontenelle, Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (COOP), entire

            Beik, pp. 37-41 (countryside), 128-30 (ports), ch. 12 (pp. 342-64).


Week XIII (Nov 21): Voltaire

            M, lecture 21: Voltaire

            W-F (Thanksgiving): NO CLASS


Week XIV (Nov 28): into the French Enlightenment

            M, lecture 22: Enlightenment


            W, lecture 23: overview and conclusions

            F, discussion section

Reading: Voltaire, Letters on England (COOP)

            Abbé de Saint-Pierre, "Comparison between Henry IV and Louis XIV," and Voltaire, "The Age of Louis XIV," in The greatness of Louis XIV: Myth or reality?, ed. William F. Church (Boston: DC Heath and Co., 1959), pp. 30-48.

            Beik, appendix 1 (a brief synopsis of early modern French history).


A review session will be scheduled during reading period.


FINAL PAPER DUE Friday Dec 9 at NOON (last day of reading period).


Final exam: Mon Dec 19 (as currently scheduled; changes by the Registrar are possible)



W: lecture 5: Aristotle in the medieval university

Week IV (Sept 19): Christianizing Aristotle

      M: lecture 6: Aquinas and the problem of the eternity of the world

      W: lecture 8: Reformation and Counter-Reformation [NOTE: no lecture 7]

Week V (Sept 26): Copernicus and Copernicanism to 1616

      M: lecture 9: Copernicus' De revolutionibus (1543)

      W: lecture 10: reception of Copernicus to 1616

Reading:    (C) Richard Blackwell, Galileo, Bellarmine and the Church, ch. 1 (pp. 5-14) + appendixes I and II (pp. 181-86).

                  *Copernicus, On the motions of the heavenly spheres, prefaces (foreword by Osiander, letter of Nicholas Schönberg, preface “to his holiness”), Book I, chs. 1 and 10.

Available through google at http://www.webexhibits.org/calendars/year-text-Copernicus.html

                  God and Nature, ch. 3.

Week VI (Oct 3): Galileo and a new point of tension: the problem of biblical interpretation

      M: lecture 11: the trial and condemnation of Galileo—1633

Reading:    (C) Blackwell, Galileo, Bellarmine and the Bible, ch. 2 pp. 29-40.   

            * (C) Maurice Finocchiaro, The Galileo Affair, pp. 148-50, 256-70, 286-93.

                  * Galileo, “Letter to the Grand-Duchess Christina”: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/galileo-tuscany.html

                  excerpts from Dialogue Concerning Two Chief World Systems: available at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/dialogue.html: read preface and the last page of the text.

                  God and Nature, ch. 4.

                  Bible: Joshua ch. 10


Week VII (Oct 10): secularization

Lecture 12: aftermath of the Galileo affair

Reading : (C) Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, pp. 1-28

                 (C) John Hedley Brooke, "Science and Secularization," in Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion, ed. Peter Harrison (2010), pp. 103-23. available on HOLLIS, http://universitypublishingonline.org.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/cambridge/companions/ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511781537

Week VIII (Oct 17): divine intervention in a mechanical world

      M: lecture 13: Descartes and the rise of mechanical philosophy

      W: lecture 14: Newton and a response to mechanical philosophy

Reading:    *Descartes, Discourse on Method, parts I-IV, and part V 1st four paragraphs

                  * Newton, selected writings on God and theology:

General scholium: https://isaac-newton.org/general-scholium/

http://www.newtonproject.sussex.ac.uk/prism.php?id=44: theological writings on-line. Read: seven statements on religion (#6), a short schem of true religion (#7), 12 articles on religion (#8), three paragraphs on religion (#9), four letters to Richard Bentley (#254-57) and browse some of the longer manuscripts at the website

Week IX (Oct 24): belief by faith or by reason

      M: lecture 15: Blaise Pascal--a religion of the heart

      W: lecture 16: making Christianity reasonable

Reading:    *Blaise Pascal, Pensées :

Ariew I, 7-8 (greatness, oppositions =Penguin, I, vi-vii)

Ariew I, 14-17 (submission, excellence, transition, nature =Penguin I, xiii-xvi)

Ariew IV, 45 (wager =Penguin II, ii); IV, 46 (a letter to further the search for God =Penguin against indifference + eternal judgment, II, iii, iv); IV, 47 (preface to the second part =Penguin two essential truths of Christianity II, v); IV, 53 (around corruption =Penguin proofs of religion, II, xi)

Ariew, II, 30-31 (miracles =Penguin: opinion, rules for miracles, III, xxxii-xxxiii)

Ariew III, 37- 41 (miscellaneous thoughts =Penguin: diversion, superiority, relativity, habit, figurative language, II, xxvii-xxxi); Ariew V, 62 (memorial).

Week X (Oct 31): 18th-century developments

      M: lecture 17: natural theology

      W: lecture 18/19: Lyell and geology; species and evolution before Darwin


Course Summary:

Date Details Due