The European Nobility, 1400-1800

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Cambridge University Press, May 16, 1996 - History - 209 pages
This book is the first comprehensive history of the European nobility between the Renaissance and the French Revolution. Designed to introduce students and nonspecialists to the subject, it explains all the principal themes in an authoritative and accessible manner. Challenging the conventional point of view, Professor Dewald maintains that the nobles of Europe adapted effectively to the profound changes that marked society and culture at this time. He also argues that the nobility throughout Europe faced the same challenges and reacted to them in similar ways, despite their varying numbers and privileges.
 

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Contents

The European nobilities as an historical problem
1
Nature and numbers
15
the biology of social mobility
16
Processes of mobility
19
Numbers
22
Privileges
28
criticism of the nobility
33
The rise of the administrative nobilities
36
Spending
98
Nobles and politics
108
Regional communities
110
The regional community and political change
115
kings administrators subjects
118
The court
122
Ideals and realities
127
The problem of rebellion
134

Rich and poor nobles
40
The urbanization of the nobility
48
Alternative models of gentility
51
Wealth privilege and the encounter with change
60
Hierarchies of wealth
62
Land and lordship
65
Patterns of change
69
Establishing the domain
76
Administering the estate
82
The country house
89
Alternative forms of wealth
93
Serving the state
97
The absolutist compromise
140
Lives and cultures
149
A cultural revolution?
151
Cultural patronage and cuItural production
157
The psychology of privacy
163
The family and the self
168
The problem of religion
176
The impact of Enlightenment
183
Toward a new society the French Revolution and beyond
188
Suggestions for further reading
202
Index
207
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