Pierre de L'Estoile and his World in the Wars of Religion

ISBN : 9780198867104

Tom Hamilton
256 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Aug 2021
Past & Present Book Series
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The Wars of Religion embroiled France in decades of faction, violence, and peacemaking in the late sixteenth century. This study offers a new history of these Wars of Religion from the perspective of the period's great diarist and collector, Pierre de L'Estoile (1546-1611), telling the story of his life and times. When historians interpret these events they inevitably depend on sources of information gathered by contemporaries, none more valuable than the diaries and collection of Pierre de L'Estoile (1546-1611), who lived through the civil wars in Paris and shaped how they have been remembered ever since. Taking him out of the footnotes, and demonstrating his significance in the culture of the late Renaissance, this is the first life of L'Estoile in any language. It examines how he negotiated and commemorated the conflicts that divided France as he assembled an extraordinary collection of the relics of the troubles, a collection that he called 'the storehouse of my curiosities'. The story of his life and times is the history of the civil wars in the making. Focusing on a crucial individual for understanding Reformation Europe, this study challenges historians' assumptions about the widespread impact of confessional conflict in the sixteenth century. L'Estoile's prudent, non-confessional responses to the events he lived through and recorded were common among his milieu of Gallican Catholics. His life-writing and engagement with contemporary news, books, and pictures reveals how individuals used different genres and media to destabilise rather than fix confessional identities. Bringing together the great variety of topics in society and culture that attracted L'Estoile's curiosity, this volume rethinks his world in the Wars of Religion.


1 The Material World of a Household and Collection
2 The Social World of the Palais de Justice
3 Family Life and the Early Civil Wars, 1546-1580
4 The Reign of Henri III, 1574-1589
5 Drolleries of the League, 1589-1598
6 Book Collecting at the End of the Civil Wars, 1598-1611

About the author: 

Tom Hamilton is an Assistant Professor in Early Modern History at Durham University.

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