In fascinating detail, France in the Eighteenth Century focuses on modern history’s most extravagant kingdom and century—France before the Revolution, 1700 to 1789. Lavishly illustrated, it re-creates the splendor and squalor of a fateful era, from the court at Versailles to the filthy back streets of Paris, from royal etiquette to the raucous cries of street peddlers.
How the French, rich and poor, dressed, what they ate, how they educated their children, wore their hair, traveled, amused themselves, punished their malefactors—all this and much more comes under the probing eye of Paul Lacroix (1806-1884), Parisian library curator, historian, novelist, playwright, and master of historical detail and trivia. Here are chapters on the lives and courts of the three eighteenth-century kings of France: the last years of the opulent and absolutist Louis XIV, the decadent life of Louis XV, and the well-intentioned reign of the enlightened but blundering Louis XVI. Sections on society, charity, education, fashion, dining, and the theater illustrate the lives of the gentry and bourgeoisie, while street life and Parisian amusements give a picture of the working classes. Chapters on the nobility, the clergy, commerce, finance, and justice outline the functioning—and slow but relentless malfunctioning—of a state and system on the eve of a revolution that would change both France and the world forever.
Quotations from contemporary memoirs, diaries, and social commentary add vivid immediacy to Lacroix’s portrait of a vanished epoch. This massive treasure of details, newly annotated to provide additional information for the twenty-first-century reader, is an invaluable reference for specialists in the period, for historical researchers, and for any lover of history.
(1806 – 1884), French author and journalist, is best known under his pseudonyms of “P. L. Jacob, bibliophile,”
or “Bibliophile Jacob,” suggested by the constant interest he took in public
libraries and books generally. Lacroix was an extremely prolific and varied
writer of fiction, plays, and nonfiction. At the age of twenty-four he founded the journal Le Gastronome. More than twenty historical romances alone came from
his pen, although he is best known today for a variety of serious historical works, including a
history of Napoleon III; the life and times of the Tsar Nicholas I of
Russia; and in-depth explorations of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and 17th- and 18th-century France.
Trade Paperback and eBook
6.7" x 9.5", 384 pp
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