This book provides a "birds eye" view of social change in France during the "long seventeenth century" from 1589-1715. One of the most dynamic phases of French history, it covers the reigns of the first three Bourbon kings, Henri IV, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV. The author explores the upheavals in French society during this period through an examination of the bonds which tied various classes and groupings together: including rank, honour, and reputation; family, household and kinship; faith and the Church; and state and obedience to the King. Acting as a social glue against instability and fragmentation, in periods of great transformation some of these social solidarities are eroded whilst new ones emerge. Sharon Kettering shows how nuclear family ties emerged at the expense of extended kinship ties, while traditional rural ties were eroded by a combination of demographic crisis and agricultural stagnation. Urban ties of neighbourhood, sociability and work increased with rapid urbanisation. By 1715, France had become a more peaceful and civilised place, and this book discusses some of the reasons why.
' this is a masterly piece of compression, and a lively, provocative work which conveys very well the turbulence of seventeenth-century French history and historiography.'
English Historical Review