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The Story of John and Abigail Adams in Europe
The Second Empire and the Emergence of Modern French Democracy

politeness. délicat—Literally “delicate,” with the implication of weakness or fragility, but sometimes implying the strength of a kind of intellectual acuity. esprit—Connotes “mind,” “spirit,” “wit,” etc., depending on its usage in the text. honnête (honnêteté)—The best translation is probably “polite,” but the French word evokes an entire way of life in Parisian elite circles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In some contexts its older meaning of “honesty” or “integ- rity” continued through the early modern era. mondain (mondanité)—Of “The World,” the

Acknowledgments IN STUDYING the Parisian elite, I have benefited from the advice and encouragement and, I would hope, the wisdom of friends and family, teachers, colleagues, and students. Certain of these persons deserve special mention. First and foremost, I am grateful to Natalie Davis, who not only directed the dissertation on which the book is based but is also responsible for my first real introduction to sixteenth-century France. She has shared generously of her time and learning. I am grateful as well to Gene Brucker, who read each chapter of the

structures, the family, and the law. If there are relatively few references to these works in the body of the text, it is because as my work on the Parisian elite progressed I found that it took on a shape and contour of its own, a shape dictated by the nature of the archival sources and the information they yielded. Attempts to bring in frequent comparisons with the results of studies of other cities and other social groups, studies that are inev­ itably based on different sorts of data and bounded by differ­ ent parameters, would have diffused the focus of the

, and the aspirations of the Parisian elite were conditioned by the local experience as well as the monarchical superstructure. In sixteenth-century Paris, at least until the period of the League, civic and monarchical institutions worked well in tandem, and the mutual benefits of their cooperation helped further the ambitions of the Parisian elite. The officers of the Hotel de Ville assisted the king in various capacities. They helped to keep order in the capital; they collected taxes and helped fill the royal coffers through the sale of rentes·, and in

correspondence from members of the Parisian elite shows that in their vernacular style such people used vernacular forms like everyone else. These have been extensively studied, so in this paper we will focus on idealised representations of mauvais usage. From the end of the fifteenth century and throughout the Ancien Regime, there flourished a tradition of linguistic parody mimicking the speech of the lower orders in Paris society (see Lodge 1991, 1996). The earliest example of this 'genre' which I have found to date is the Farce des Enfants de Bagneux (ed. Cohen 1949

the whole French nation in the same way that the resistance to it hasn’t characterized the whole German nation. German aristocracy of the time passionately aped French taste. Inasmuch as such border-crossing elective affinities between the French and German ruling cosmopolitan agencies (i. e. the Parisian elite and German aristocracy) on the one hand and their subordinated national enablers (i. e. the Southern provincials and German marginalized bourgeoisie) on the other contradict smooth national continuities, they are regularly overlooked in the uncritically


thesis advisor at Harvard, and Ornella Volta, President of the Fondation Satie in Paris, who nurtured my initial interest Satie’s connections to the Parisian elite. Colleagues at UCLA, The Ohio State University, and Boston University generously invited me to speak at their institutions, and I am grateful to students and faculty at those schools for their valuable feedback and en- couragement. I am also indebted to staff at the Cleveland Museum of Art, for their guidance on art historical issues and for inviting me to present a lecture-recital based on my research

. It is this development, and in particular the contributions made by the Parisian elite, that interests us here. At issue is not only the role of the individ­ ual in the family but the role of the family in the state. The idea that the consent of parents to the marriage of their children should be sought was not in itself new to the sixteenth century. Because of the importance attached to the marital tie and the transfers of property that usually occurred with marriage, it had long been customary for prospective brides and grooms whose parents were still