In recent years scholars have increasingly challenged and reassessed the once established concept of the 'crisis of the nobility' in early-modern Europe. Offering a range of case studies from countries across Europe this collection further expands our understanding of just how the nobility adapted to the rapidly changing social, political, religious and cultural circumstances around them. By allowing readers to compare and contrast a variety of case studies across a range of national and disciplinary boundaries, a fuller - if more complex - picture emerges of the strategies and actions employed by nobles to retain their influence and wealth. The nobility exploited Renaissance science and education, disruptions caused by war and religious strife, changing political ideas and concepts, the growth of a market economy, and the evolution of centralized states in order to maintain their lineage, reputation, and position. Through an examination of the differing strategies utilized to protect their status, this collection reveals much about the fundamental role of the 'second order' in European history and how they had to redefine the social and cultural 'spaces' in which they found themselves. By using a transnational and comparative approach to the study of the European nobility, the volume offers exciting new perspectives on this important, if often misunderstood, social group.
'One of the volume's great strengths is the consistent engagement with primary documents, both archival and literary, and the essays model future directions in study of the early modern nobility … Contested Spaces of Nobility in Early Modern Europe is highly recommended for individuals and for academic libraries …' Sixteenth Century Journal 'Not falling into the trap of seeing noble history as a story of either resilience or decline, this volume contributes to a more nuanced picture of the successes and failures of the nobility’s different responses to a changing world.' Virtus Yearbook for the History of the Nobility 'In terms of individual essays, this collection presents interesting, and in places important, insights into early modern noble identity. There are valuable reiterations of how noble power was perpetuated and enhanced, drawing on recent methodologies.' English Historical Review '… this collection provides an invaluable resource for researchers, with a wealth of resources in the footnotes … and potentially for teaching a course on the early modern nobility. The empirical approach and close analysis from the various authors are fresh, and a number of pertinent questions are raised which will be useful in developing this emerging subgenre of historical enquiry beyond the specific case studies presented here.' History 'The strengths… are its willingness to engage with interdisciplinary methodology, to cross national borders and build from, rather than work with, existing historiography. Likewise, the frequent reference to other chapters by authors in the book suggests a close working relationship during the creation of the volume, and that this attention to detail is replicated throughout the volume is a credit to the editors.' European History Quarterly