These essays examine the thought and works of a series of writers on political thought, religion, historiography and literature, from the 16th century to the 19th. Throughout, the author is concerned to situate individual thinkers in the context of their times and, in many of the essays, to illuminate the links between intellectual currents in France and England. Particular topics include Gallicanism, Neostoicism, the historical novel, and constitutionalism, while the figures dealt with range from Bodin and Hotman in the Renaissance, to Descartes and La Rochefoucauld in the Grand Siècle and Condorcet and Diderot in the Enlightenment. Less familiar figures include the Oxford historian, Degory Wheare, and the French constitutional theorist, Henrion de Pansey. Among the topics treated in the Romantic era are comparisons between the French and English revolutions, and the French obsession with Oliver Cromwell.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction: Religion and economic motivation: some French insights on an old controversy; The Renaissance: François Hotman and Jean Bodin: the dilemma of 16th-century French constitutionalism; The legacy of Jean Bodin: absolutism, populism or constitutionalism?; Clovis and Constantine: the uses of history in 16th-century Gallicanism; The Grand Siècle: Stoicism and Roman example: Seneca and Tacitus in Jacobean England; Precept, example and truth: Degory Wheare and the ars historica; The three faces of Henri, Duc de Rohan; Descartes and Pascal; Retz and La Rochefoucauld;The Enlightenment: Voltaire and the Massacre of St Bartholomew; Turgot and Condorcet: progress, reform and revolution; The Abbé Raynal,1713-1796: an intellectual odyssey; Liberty by degrees: Raynal and Diderot on the British constitution; Renaissance jurists and ’enlightened’ magistrates: perspectives on feudalism in 18th-century France; Constitutions old and new: Henrion de Pansey before and after the French Revolution; The Romantics: The French Romantics and the Renaissance; The French Romantics on comparative revolution; The historical novel and the French Romantics; Oliver Cromwell and the French romantics; Index.