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Look Inside Joseph II

Joseph II

Volume 2. Against the World, 1780–1790


  • Date Published: September 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107616264

£ 46.99

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About the Authors
  • This second and final volume of Derek Beales's magisterial biography of the emperor Joseph II describes the period when he was sole ruler of the Austrian monarchy. Influenced partly by Enlightenment ideals, Joseph relaxed censorship, introduced wide-ranging religious toleration and fostered a 'new Catholicism' whilst Mozart's music, the greatest cultural achievement of his reign, owed much to Joseph's patronage. He also abolished personal serfdom and diminished the nobles' power, seeking to achieve full personal control over all his provinces. Opposition became serious when his hyperactive foreign policy landed him in war against the Turks, and he died with his Belgian provinces in rebel hands and Hungary threatened by revolt and invasion. Though these pressures forced Joseph to withdraw some of his measures, Derek Beales argues that he left an indelible mark on the history of all his lands, which now form part of fifteen modern states.

    • Major account of Joseph's transformation of the Austrian monarchy that highlights his lasting historical influence
    • Offers a fresh view not only of Joseph II's policies but also of his personality and cultural interests
    • Essential reading for scholars of the Habsburg Empire and Central European history more generally
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… splendid second volume of his biography of Joseph II … This book should restore Joseph II to his rightful position, holding a central place in the history of Austria, the Habsburg monarchy, Germany and central Europe.' Steven Beller, The Times Literary Supplement

    'Derek Beales's two volumes are a triumphant vindication of the potential and utility of traditional biography, particularly of a figure of such importance, at a time when the value of the genre is once again being reasserted … Discriminating scholarship, acute psychological insight, a consistently questioning intellect which is never content with received wisdom or the easy answer, and elegant, spacious writing which can be waspish when it needs to be, combine to make this the finest political biography of an eighteenth-century ruler ever written.' Hamish Scott, The Historical Journal

    '… a magisterial study of the Austrian monarchy and continental Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century.' Francia-Recensio

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107616264
    • length: 754 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 42 mm
    • weight: 1.09kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Joseph, his ministers, the court and the constitution
    2. The first six months: Josephism intensified (29 November 1780 to 22 May 1781)
    3. Foreign policy and the Russian alliance, 1780–2
    4. Joseph's visit to Belgium, the Dutch Republic and France, May–August 1781
    5. Toleration of Protestants, Greek Orthodox and Jews
    6. The Pope's visit to Vienna (22 March–22 April 1782)
    7. Joseph and the peasants, 1780–1785/6
    8. Josephism rampant I: monasteries, general seminaries and parishes
    9. Josephism rampant II: lay education and a new Catholicism
    10. 'The Lion's Claws Bared', 1782–4
    11. Foreign policy, 1782–6: The Scheldt, the 'Greek Project' and the Crimea, the Dutch 'War' and the Bavarian Exchange
    12. Joseph as Emperor
    13. Joseph in Vienna: his routine and his impact, especially on music
    14. 'Just One Body, Uniformly Governed': Hungary, the Tyrol, Italy and Belgium, 1784–7
    15. Joseph's Enlightenment: freemasonry, law reform and police
    16. War against the Turks, August 1787–December 1788
    17. Rebellion, victory and death, January 1789–February 1790

  • Author

    Derek Beales
    Derek Beales is Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. His previous publications include Joseph II. Volume I: In the Shadow of Maria Theresa, 1741–80 (Cambridge University Press, 1987), Prosperity and Plunder: European Catholic Monasteries in the Age of Revolution, 1650–1810 (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Enlightenment and Reform in Eighteenth-Century Europe (2005).

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