Schneider, Robert A.
Public Life in Toulouse, 1463–1789
From Municipal Republic to Cosmopolitan City
Aims and Scope
This book focuses on the public life of the ancien regime over the course of more than 300 years, from the late fifteenth century to the French Revolution. Not merely a narrative of that crowded history, it offers both a reconstruction and an analysis of a variety of religious and cultural movements, from the Renaissance and the Wars of Religion to the Counter-Reformation and the Enlightenment, within the social and political context of Toulouse, a regional capital and a city with a strong local tradition.
Professor Schneider takes up a wide range of early modern topics: popular culture, religious riots, municipal government, lay piety, and spiritual kinship, and he also treats learned academies, poor relief, social conflict, civic festivals, Jansenism, and urbanism. He discovers that despite the formation of a new elite in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries—an elite composed of powerful royal magistrates attached to the Parlement of Toulouse and wealthy pastel merchants—the cultural and social ties binding this elite to the urban populace persisted, and the city's public life maintained its local character. Schneider shows that in the late seventeenth century, however, these "vertical" ties began to break down; elites began to turn away from local concerns, and Toulouse's public life was fundamentally transformed. He points to several factors influencing this transformation: the local effects of absolutism, the appeal of Parisian culture and academic life, and the increased social tensions between the prosperous and the poor. By the eighteenth century, Toulouse, once considered a municipal republic, had become a cosmopolitan city.
Relating developments in Toulouse to changes occurring elsewhere in France, this book heightens our understanding of the complex cultural ramifications of the rise of the increasingly centralized, absolutist state.
- 416 pages
- 24 b&w illustrations, 15 tables
- CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS