From the Back Cover
This famous series examines key themes in British, European and World history in short, succinct volumes. The text is supported by primary material in a Documents section, a full bibliography and an index; where appropriate there are maps, chronologies and glossaries. All the books in the series are written by experts in the field who are not only familiar with the latest research but have often contributed to it. Works of scholarship in their own right, the books also provide a survey of current historical interpretations. Longman has now inaugurated a major programme of renewal and expansion for Seminar Studies, with many new titles and new editions in the pipeline. Existing books are being re-presented in a larger, more reader-friendly format as they reprint; and new books and new editions are being reset into an entirely new page design.
First published in 1984 Professor Knecht¿s French Renaissance Monarchy quickly established itself as the best short account of the history of France in the first half of the sixteenth century. The reigns of Francis I (1515-47) and Henry II (1547-59) are one of the most formative periods of French history, both politically and culturally. In addition to examining the nature and effectiveness of their monarchy, Professor Knecht examines the kings' foreign policy, particularly their desire to conquer Milan and Naples, which brought them into conflict with other powers, including England and the Holy Roman Empire. As traditional forms of taxation failed to meet the rapidly rising costs of war, they were driven to seek new forms of revenue such as the sale of offices or fleecing the clergy. Meanwhile, both kings had to face the threat to national unity posed by the growth of Protestantism among their subjects. This book provides readers with a succinct account of these turbulent times.
This new edition is sure to be greatly welcomed. In addition to revising the original text in the light of recent historiography, updating the bibliography and expanding the glossary, the author has also added a completely new chapter on patronage and cultural developments. This chapter gives the book a welcome new dimension, for despite their political preoccupations Francis and Henry found time to patronize the arts and learning. Indeed, beautiful chateaux, like Chambord and Fontainebleau, continue to remind visitors of the golden years of the French Renaissance covered by this book.
R. J. Knecht is Emeritus Professor of French history, University of Birmingham.
Cover: Francis I enthroned. From Jean du Tillet, Recueil des Rois de France. Reproduced courtesy of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.