Lineages of the Absolutist State

Front Cover
Verso, 1974 - Political Science - 573 pages
5 Reviews
"The political nature of Absolutism has long been a subject of controversy within historical materialism. Developing considerations advanced in Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, this book situates the Absolutist states of the early modern epoch against the prior background of European feudalism. It is divided into two parts. The first discusses the overall structures of Absolutism as a state-system in Western Europe, from the Renaissance onwards; and the difficult question of the relations between monarchy and nobility institutionalised by it, for which it suggests a general periodization. It then looks in turn at the trajectory of each of the specific Absolutist states in the dominant countries of the West - Spain, France, England and Sweden, set off against the case of Italy, where no major indigenous Absolutism developed. The second part of the work sketches a comparative prospect of Absolutism in Eastern Europe. It begins with an enquiry into the reasons why the divergent social conditions in themore backward half of the continent should have produced political forms apparently similar to those of the more advanced West. The peculiarities, as well as affinities, of Eastern Absolutism as a distinct type of royal state, are examined. The variegated monarchies of Prussia, Austria and Russia are surveyed, and the lessons asked of the counter-example of Poland. Finally, the structure of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans is taken as an external gauge by which the singularity of Absolutism as a European phenomenon is assessed. The work ends with some observations on the special position occupied by European development within universal history, which draws themes from both Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism and Lineages of the Absolutist State together into a single argument -- within their common limits -- as materials for debate. Two postscript notes treat, respectively, the notion of the 'Asiatic mode of production,' with particular reference to Islamic and Chinese history, and the experience of Japanese feudalism, as relevant controls for a study of the evolution of Europe up to the advent of industrial capitalism." -- from http://www.amazon.com (April 18, 2011).
  

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Review: Lineages of the Absolutist State

User Review  - lyell bark - Goodreads

if you want some "cool" historical materialism i have the book for you. it's this book. i wish anderson would sometimes translate some of his more obscure latin forumlations of feudal law tho. i'm a fat idiot lunkhead ffs. Read full review

Review: Lineages of the Absolutist State

User Review  - Peter - Goodreads

His prose isn't as inspired as his brother Benedict's, but Perry Anderson gets the job thoroughly done in this book. A great example of what materialist history still has to offer us. Read full review

Contents

Western Europe
9
The Absolutist State in the West
15
Problems of Periodization
43
Spain
60
France
85
England
113
Italy
143
Sweden
173
Prussia
236
Poland
279
Austria
299
Russia
328
The House of Islam
361
Conclusions
397
A Japanese Feudalism
435
B The Asiatic Mode of Production
462

Eastern Europe
180
The Absolutist State in the East
195
the Eastern Variant
221

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About the author (1974)

Perry Anderson is the author of, among other books, Spectrum, Lineages of the Absolutist State, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, Considerations on Western Marxism, English Questions, The Origins of Postmodernity, and The New Old World. He teaches history at UCLA and is on the editorial board of New Left Review.

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