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The World of the Favourite

Overview

Observers in England, Spain, France and many other European states in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries grew increasingly alarmed by the growing influence of favourites, or minister-favourites. These individuals appeared to be usurping powers and duties normally exercised by monarchs. In this pioneering work, a team of international scholars considers the emergence of favourites in Europe.

Probing beyond the well-known life stories of such individual favourites and ...

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Overview

Observers in England, Spain, France and many other European states in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries grew increasingly alarmed by the growing influence of favourites, or minister-favourites. These individuals appeared to be usurping powers and duties normally exercised by monarchs. In this pioneering work, a team of international scholars considers the emergence of favourites in Europe.

Probing beyond the well-known life stories of such individual favourites and minister-favourites as the Duke of Buckingham, Cardinal Richelieu and the Count-Duke of Olivares, the contributors enquire into the phenomenon of these powerful figures. Was their appearance on the European scene a matter of chance? How is it to be explained? How did favourites win, and retain, their hold on power? What was their relationship to their royal masters? And why did monarchs increasingly choose to rule without favourites as the seventeenth century drew to a close? This book provides many new insights into the intriguing role of the favourite in Early Modern Europe.

Sir John Elliott is Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History, Oxford University. He is the author of numerous titles on the history of Spain and its transatlantic empire, published by Yale University Press. Laurence Brockliss is Reader in Modern History and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford University.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Elliott, Regius Professor Emeritus of modern history, Oxford, and Brockliss, a reader in modern history and fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, have assembled a series of essays that grew out of a colloquium on the influence of the "favourite" on European history, the favourite being an individual who has great access to and influence over the reigning sovereign. Favorites, an old phenomenon in Western history, include Sejanus, favourite of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, and Piers Gaveston, favourite of the English King Edward II. The favourite has not enjoyed a popular press. One has only to turn to the portrait of Cardinal Richelieu, favourite of the French King Louis XIII, depicted by Dumas and others, to observe the negative feelings that favourites engender in the popular imagination. Nevertheless, they influenced European history, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries, and deserve to be studied more systematically. These essays cover the origins and emergence of the favourite, their actions in political office, their representation in the arts, and, lastly, their decline as a governmental phenomenon. Recommended for academic libraries.--Robert James Andrews, Duluth P.L., MN Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300197914
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 6/10/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 386
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Contributors
Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Emergence of the Minister-Favourite
1 The Institutional Background to the Rise of the Minister-Favourite 13
2 'Fortune Has Stripped You of Your Splendour': Favourites and their Fates in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Spain 26
3 'Absolute and Sovereign Mistress of her Grace'? Queen Elizabeth I and her Favourites, 1581-1592 38
4 Monopolizing Favour: Structures of Power in the Early Seventeenth-Century English Court 54
5 Between Mignons and Principal Ministers: Concini, 1610-1617 71
Pt. 2 Favourites in Office
6 Can a Bureaucrat Be a Favourite? Robert Cecil and the Strategies of Power 81
7 Corruption and Punishment? The Rise and Fall of Matthaus Enzlin (1556-1613), Lawyer and Favourite 96
8 Staying in Power: The Count-Duke of Olivares 112
9 Words and Wealth in the France of Richelieu and Mazarin 123
10 Favourite, Minister, Magnate: Power Strategies in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 141
Pt. 3 Representations of the Favourite
11 Favourites on the English Stage 159
12 Francis Bacon: Your Flexible Friend 184
13 Images of Evil, Images of Kings: The Contrasting Faces of the Royal Favourite and the Prime Minister in Early Modern European Political Literature, c. 1580-c. 1650 205
14 'Peut-on Assez Louer Cet Excellent Ministre?' Imagery of the Favourite in England, France and Spain 223
Pt. 4 The Twilight of the Favourite
15 Nicolas Fouquet, the Favourite 239
16 The Demise of the Minister-Favourite, or a Political Model at Dusk: The Austrian Case 256
17 The Last Favourite? The Case of Griffenfeld: A Danish Perspective 269
Concluding Remarks: The Anatomy of the Minister-Favourite 279
Index 310
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