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Sedgwick resumes his theme of Jansenist individualism by focusing on the family most closely identified with the movement. The author skillfully traces the traits that brought the Arnaulds to prominence: education, dedication to royal service, and family cohesion...Sedgwick describes the remarkable characters of the story: Mother Angelique, the reformer at Port-Royal; the patriarch Robert Arnauld de'Andilly; Antoine 'le Grand Arnauld'; and foreign minister Simon Arnauld de Pomponne. The strength of the book, however, lies not in these highly readable portraits but in its analysis of internal family dynamics (the interaction of strong women who separated themselves from the world but remained dependent on family protection and men who wavered between the world and the divine) amid the culture and politics of early modern France. Recommended reading for all students of the Ancien Régime.
— D.C. Baxter