- Series: New Studies in European History
- Hardcover: 362 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 8, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521822629
- ISBN-13: 978-0521822626
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.4 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,430,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Vienna and Versailles: The Courts of Europe's Dynastic Rivals, 1550-1780 (New Studies in European History)
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"[Duindam] has written an important book that historians of early modern courts and state formation will need to absorb." Malcom Smuts, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Renaissance Quarterly
"... Duindam paints a fascinating portrait of court life in the late-seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries...." Habsburg (H-Net)
"...no future scholar of Vienna or Versailles will be able to ignore his carefully researched book. Comparatists are well advised to study it closely. This publication--like that of Elias before him--will provide the impetus for much new scholarship in the historiography of the early modern European court." H-German (H-Net)
"The author of this outstanding work traces in scrupulous detail the evolution of the royal household in France and Austria from the Renaissance to the eve of the global wars of the French Revolution." The Historian
"The author is to be congratulated for a first book that represents a tour de force of scholarship across two centuries of documents in some of the less riveting fonds of the Austrian State Archives." Austrian History Yearbook
"Solidly researched and lucidly written, this book is clearly a worthwhile and important study. The author's conclusions have major bearing not only on the nature of the court but also on the overall shape of politics in both countries. Its appearance is another welcome sign that the royal court has begun to attract the kind of sophisticated, intensive investigation that other state institutions of this period have received for two generations or more." The Journal of Modern History Thomas E. Kaiser, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
This book brings vividly to life the courtiers and servants of the imperial court in Vienna and the royal court in Paris-Versailles from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. It draws together a wealth of unpublished material in a comparative framework, and helps us to understand how the household operated at the heart of the early modern state. It also offers original approaches to both statebuilding and the notion of 'absolutism'. This is the first institutional study of these courts, and the only comparative study based on archival materials.
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Top Customer Reviews
In doing so, the author systematically dispels the myth of Louis XIV's `absolutist' power - exercised through his court - and comprehensively illustrates how this notion was more of an ideal than reality. Researched over the course of one year in the libraries and archives of Vienna and Paris, the result provides us with a wealth of information which challenges the problematic views of earlier writers of the Early Modern court.
In this cross study of the Habsburg imperial court in Vienna and Bourbon royal court in Versailles, Duindam ensures that all major historical factors are taken into consideration, most commendably a representation of female actors as a category of historical analysis. Duindam presents a more accurate view of monarchy, nobility, and court society and deserves high praise for the breadth of his scholarship and the significance of his contribution to court studies.
Admittedly, the books' index is incredibly insufficient and, although the subject matter is noticeably geared to be read by an academic audience rather than the general public, the work as a whole is undoubtedly quite fascinating. Furthermore, Duindam's thematic organization and vast scholarly bibliography incorporates both recent publications and standard works on the topic which, incidentally, paves the way for further examination of both courts.
Other books that I would recommend would be "Kings or People: Power and the Mandate to Rule by Reinhard Bendix"; "State and status" by Samuel Clark; "Monarchy, Aristocracy, and the State in Europe, 1300-1800" by Hillay Zmora; "Nobilities in Transition 1550-1700: Courtiers and Rebels in Britain and Europe" by Ronald G. Asch; and "The Persistence of the Ancient Regime" by Arno J. Mayer (this last one covering approximately the 1815-1914 period).