The reputation of Francis I, king of France (1515-47 ) has fluctuated over the centuries. Acclaimed as ’noble’ and ’great’ in the sixteenth century, he came to be unfairly denigrated under the Bourbon kings and the republic. But, in the twentieth century, research based on archival material has restored his standing as one of the most important rulers of his age. The present volume brings together seventeen articles by Robert Knecht published over several decades on particular aspects of the reign, with three specially translated from French into English. They examine the period in more depth than was possible in the author's 1994 biography of Francis I, and include studies of the Concordat of 1516 with the papacy, the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520, the lit-de-justice of 1527, and the visit to France of the Emperor Charles V in 1540. Other articles consider the king’s attitude to the Reformation, his court, his relations with Paris and visits to Aquitaine, his patronage of architecture as demonstrated by his building of the chÃ¢teau of Fontainebleau, and his relations with his mother, Louise of Savoy, and sister, Marguerite d’AngoulÃªme. The king’s love of books and the political advice he received from scholars are also considered as well as the extent of his ’absolutism’. Two articles compare the English and French Reformations and the nobilities of the two countries. The volume is intended as a contribution to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Francis I’s accession.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The Concordat of 1516: a re-assessment; ‘Our Trinity!’: Francis I, Louise of Savoy and Marguerite d’Angoulême; The Field of Cloth of Gold; The court of Francis I; Popular theatre and the court of 16th-century France; Francis I, ‘father of letters’?; Francis I and the ‘mirror for princes’; The early Reformation in England and France: a comparison; Francis I, ‘Defender of the Faith’?; Francis I and Paris; Charles III of Bourbon, Henri VIII and Charles V; Francis I in Aquitaine: a British view; Francis I and the Lit de justice: a ‘legend’ defended; Francis I and Fontainebleau; Haulse ( Paris) haulse bien hault ta porte’: the entry of the Emperor Charles V into Paris, 1540; The French and English nobilities in the 16th century: a comparison; The sword and the pen: Blaise de Monluc and his Commentaires; Index.
Robert Jean Knecht is Emeritus Professor of French History at the University of Birmingham. A former Chairman of the Society of Renaissance Studies and of the Society for the Study of French History, he is the author of several works on sixteenth and seventeenth century France, including, Richelieu (1991), Renaissance Warrior and Patron: the Reign of Francis I (1994), Catherine de’ Medici (1998), The French Civil Wars (2000), The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France (revised edn. 2001), The Valois (2004), The French Renaissance Court (London & New Haven, 2008) and Hero or Tyrant? Henry III, King of France, 1574-89 (Ashgate, 2014).