Feudalism, venality, and revolution is about the political and social order revealed by the monarchy’s most ambitious effort to reform its institutions, the introduction of participatory assemblies at all levels of the government. It should draw the attention of anyone interested in the sort of social and political conditions that predisposed people to make the French Revolution. In particular, according to Alexis de Tocqueville’s influential work on the Old Regime and the French Revolution, royal centralization had so weakened the feudal power of the nobles that their remaining privileges became glaringly intolerable to commoners. Feudalism, venality, and revolution challenges this theory by showing that when Louis XVI convened assemblies of landowners in the late 1770s and 1780s to discuss policies needed to resolve the budgetary crisis, he faced widespread opposition from lords and office holders. These elites regarded the assemblies as a challenge to their hereditary power over commoners. The monarchy incorporated an administration of seigneurial jurisdictions and venal offices. Lordships and offices upheld inequality on behalf of the nobility and bred the discontent evident in the French Revolution. These findings will alter the way scholars think about the Old Regime society and state and should therefore find a large market among graduate students and professors of European history.
interacted with existing ecclesiastical and political structures. 9 Understanding its influence thus means engaging on some level with historical theories on ‘feudalism’, ‘feudal anarchy’, and ‘feudal revolution’, appreciating them for the legacies and paradigms they have bequeathed. 10 These inescapable constructions both inform and frame the ongoing historical debate. According to Kassius Hallinger’s classic but now largely refuted argument, the Cluniacs were determined to ‘strip off the fetters of episcopal feudalism’. 11 They mounted what he called a ‘frontal
poitou: the question of feudalism
Poitou and the question of feudalism,
from the Old Regime to revolution
Poitou ranked near the bottom of the tables of population and wealth made in
1784 by Jacques Necker, the former director general of finances. Its relevance,
as a pays d’élection under the royal administration (as opposed to Burgundy,
Languedoc, Brittany, and other pays d’état run by estates), was the particular
relationship of the upper classes to the monarchy. In Berry and Lyonnais,
the pays d’élection studied in Chapters 2 and 3
This essay discusses the ways in which different models of historical and social development, and especially of the relationship of the Gothic past to the present, might be seen to structure – and help us now to interpret – eighteenth-century Gothic fiction. It begins with an account of the representation of ‘Gothick days’ in James Beattie‘s poem The Minstrel (1771–4), and then gives an overview of how‘ Scottish’ conjectural histories attributed a pivotal modernizing role to feudalism and chivalry, in some cases defining an exceptional Gothic legacy with particular reference to the agency and influence of women. The essay concludes by suggesting that critical attention to different accounts of social development, and contemporary ‘histories of women’, might help to provide a better literary-historical map of eighteenth-century Gothic fiction, and a richer sense of the cultural and political work that that fiction may have performed.
and London : BCA
E. ( 1971 ),
‘ Feudalism and Capitalism in Latin America ’,
New Left Review , 67 ,
19 – 38 .
B. ( 2004 ),
‘ Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of
Conern ’, Critical Enquiry ,
30 : 2 ,
225 – 48 .
B. ( 2008 ),
‘ A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps towards a Philosophy of Design (with
Special Attention to Peter Sloterdijk) ’, in Hackne ,
This book is dedicated to Susan Reynolds and celebrates the work of a scholar whose views have been central to reappraisals of the position of the laity in the Middle Ages. The themes and concerns include a medieval world in which the activity and attitudes of the laity are not obscured by ideas expressed more systematically in theoretical treatises by ecclesiastics; a world in which lay collective action and thought take centre stage. Reynolds has written her own Middle Ages, especially in her innovative book Kingdoms and Communities whose influence can be seen in so many of the essays. Collectivities, solidarities and collective action are everywhere in these essays, as Reynolds has shown us to expect them to be. Collective action was carried out often in pursuit of social peace, but it existed precisely because there was discord. Of the narratives and interpretative frameworks with which Reynolds's work has been concerned, the book has least to say directly on the debate over feudalism. The book engages many of the themes of Reynolds's work and pursues some of the issues which are prominent in re-examinations of the medieval world and in studies of the medieval laity. It discusses secular aristocratic attitudes towards judicial combat within the broader setting of fictional 'treason trials' of the later twelfth century. Although kinship did not start out as an explicit and overt theme of the book, it emerges as a leitmotiv, perhaps in part because when feudalism is removed, kinship is thrown into sharper relief.
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) remains something of a forgotten army of the Irish revolutionary period. There has also been a tendency for historians of opposition to Home Rule to view the UVF as little more than a supporting cast to the Unionists stars: Sir Edward Carson and Andrew Bonar Law. In traditional Unionist accounts of the Third Home Rule crisis, militancy was a measured and controlled response by Ulster Unionists to the actions of the Liberal government. The book considers the social composition and political ideology of the UVF. The command structures of the UVF and the force's military efficiency are discussed next. Many of the early manifestations of Ulster Unionist militancy occurred outside the formal structures of the Orange Order and Unionist Clubs. The earliest forms of armed Unionism during the 1910-1914 period took a similar form and, indeed, this neo-feudalism was to survive in the UVF proper between 1913 and 1914. The command of the UVF, while theoretically a standard military hierarchy, was in reality anything but that. The military efficiency units differed significantly over time and region. Unionist propaganda was aimed at four different audiences: Ulster Unionists themselves, British public opinion, the Liberal government and Nationalist Ireland. The book then covers the related issues of finance, arms and equipment. The contribution of the UVF to the 36th (Ulster) Division is then dealt with. Finally, it considers the brief revival of the UVF in 1920 and its amalgamation into the Ulster Special Constabulary.
the nature of the
transition from feudalism to capitalism, has been articulated most famously
in two influential exchanges: that between Dobb, Sweezy and others in the
1950s; and in the so called Brenner debate that flared up some two decades
later. Given that Marxism evolved, centrally, as an attempt to understand the
laws of motion of capitalism, it was only natural that Marxist historiography tended, from Capital onwards, to focus on this issue. Accordingly, it is
with a discussion of the various contributions to this debate that this chapter
The precise connection between ‘bastard feudalism,’ the characteristic form of aristocratic social organization in later medieval England, and the disordered condition of English politics in the later Middle Ages has long been a subject for debate among historians. While earlier writers had no doubt that the emergence of magnate affinities – bands of men bound to a lord by an indenture of retainer and a money fee rather than by a heritable fief in land – in the early fourteenth century had destructive consequences for the quality of public order, their