The experience, and failure, of Louis XVI's short-lived constitutional monarchy of 1789–92 deeply influenced the politics and course of the French Revolution. The dramatic breakdown of the political settlement of 1789 steered the French state into the decidedly stormy waters of political terror and warfare on an almost global scale. This book explores how the symbolic and political practices which underpinned traditional Bourbon kingship ultimately succumbed to the radical challenge posed by the Revolution's new 'proto-republican' culture. While most previous studies have focused on Louis XVI's real and imagined foreign counterrevolutionary plots, Ambrogio A. Caiani examines the king's hitherto neglected domestic activities in Paris. Drawing on previously unexplored archival source material, Caiani provides an alternative reading of Louis XVI in this period, arguing that the monarch's symbolic behaviour and the organisation of his daily activities and personal household were essential factors in the people's increasing alienation from the newly established constitutional monarchy.Read more
- Offers insight into the psychological foundations of Louis XVI's personal behaviour and its impact on the course of the Revolution
- The first study devoted to the French Revolution's constitutional monarchy as a ceremonial and courtly institution
- Depicts events between 1789 and 1792 in narrative detail, offering readers a firm understanding of the key political events and players of the early Revolution
Reviews & endorsements
'In this beautifully written study, Ambrogio A. Caiani paints a picture of a king increasingly adrift as the French Revolutionaries relentlessly stripped away the symbolic and ceremonial trappings surrounding him for most of his years on the throne. His analysis adds new depth to our understanding of Louis XVI's fatal alienation from the Revolution.' Bill Doyle, University of BristolSee more reviews
'In this detailed and innovative study, which will be required reading for all historians and students of the Revolution, Ambrogio A. Caiani offers a major re-evaluation of the history of the French Court after 1789 and of the failure of the Constitutional Monarchy.' Julian Swann, Birkbeck, University of London
'This well researched and meticulous book investigates the fate of royal court ceremonial after 1789 in unprecedented detail. Demonstrating how Louis XVI's retention of Old Regime ritual confirmed suspicions he could not be trusted, it is important for explaining why the king and the French Revolutionaries proved unable to reach a political compromise.' Thomas E. Kaiser, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
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- Date Published: February 2017
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107631014
- length: 270 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.37kg
- contains: 10 b/w illus. 5 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: Louis XVI, a constitutional monarch?
Part I. Inventing a Constitutional Monarchy:
1. The Maison du Roi at the twilight of the Ancien Régime
2. The Liste Civile, the new monarchy, Sieyès and the constitution
3. The court of the Tuileries 1789–92
Part II. Reform and Survival of the Ancien Régime:
4. The royal guard during the French Revolution
5. Court presentations and the French Revolution
6. The age of chivalry is gone?
7. Louis XVI's chapel during the French Revolution
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