Status Interaction During the Reign of Louis XIV

ISBN : 9780199640348

Giora Sternberg
224 Pages
162 x 240 mm
Pub date
Jul 2014
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Who preceded whom? Who wore what? Which form of address should one use? One of the most striking aspects of the early modern period is the crucial significance that contemporaries ascribed to such questions. In this hierarchical world, status symbols did not simply mirror a pre-defined social and political order; rather, they operated as a key tool for defining and redefining identities, relations, and power. Centuries later, scholars face the twofold challenge of evaluating status interaction in an era where its open pursuit is no longer as widespread and legitimate, and of deciphering its highly sophisticated and often implicit codes. Status Interaction during the Reign of Louis XIV addresses this challenge by investigating status interaction - in dress as in address, in high ceremony and in everyday life - at one of its most important historical arenas: aristocratic society at the time of Louis XIV. By recovering actual practices on the ground based on a wide array of printed and manuscript sources, it transcends the simplistic view of a court revolving around the Sun King and reveals instead the multiple perspectives of contesting actors, stakes, and strategies. Demonstrating the wide-ranging implications of the phenomenon, macro-political as well as micro-political, this study provides a novel framework for understanding early modern action and agency.


List of Abbreviations
1. The Marriage of 1679: High Ceremonies as Multifaceted Status Interactions
2. The affaire des sieges: The Anatomy of Ceremonial Crisis
3. The Battles of the Mantles: Ceremonial Gear and Status Conflict
4. To Wear or Not To Wear? Mantled Visits in the Early Eighteenth Century
5. The Duality of Service: Between Honour and Humiliation, between Primary and Secondary Functions
6. Epistolary Ceremonial: Manuscript Correspondence as Unmediated Status Interaction
Appendix I: The Royal House of Bourbon, 1643-1715
Appendix II: The Conde-Gourville Correspondence
Appendix III: Train-Length and Train-Bearing in Bourbon Funerary Services at Saint-Denis and at Notre Dame, 1643-1715
Appendix IV: A Schematised Hierarchy of Free-Address Forms

About the author: 

Giora Sternberg is Fellow and Tutor in History at Hertford College and Associate Professor in Early Modern History at the University of Oxford. Previously, he was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He holds a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford, and an MA in History and a BSc in Computer Science and Humanities from Tel Aviv University.

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