The printed rebellions of the princes : factional politics and pamphleteering in early modern France, 1614-1617
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This thesis examines the extensive political pamphleteering campaigns engendered by the rebellions of the princes in France between February 1614 and April 1617. Situated between the periods of rule of two larger-than-life figures of French history – Henri IV and ArmandJean du Plessis, cardinal-duc de Richelieu – who continue to monopolise historical research, the pamphleteering campaigns and the rebellions which gave rise to them have received relatively little attention. Such scholarly neglect is unwarranted, for the printed pandemonium of 1614-1617 was comparable to that of the Wars of Religion and the Frondes in intensity, and the political characters and events in this period would set the stage for the dramatic factional struggles throughout Louis XIII’s personal reign. The thesis begins with an investigation into the underlying causes of the princely rebellions which will serve as an important reference point with which to contextualise and analyse the pamphlets. Chapter two reappraises the characteristics of the pamphleteering campaigns and discusses the often-overlooked question of why political persuasion was even necessary during the rebellions, and how it was compatible with the unique political and social structures of seventeenth-century France. Chapter three explores another unacknowledged aspect of French political pamphleteering; it demonstrates how the contemporary obsession with the law of lèse-majesté and the loss of aristocratic honour shaped the production, distribution and contents of certain types of pamphlets. Chapter four examines the princes’ recourse to the timeless and cynical propaganda tactics of demagoguery and mockery, and reconsiders if their pamphlets reflect the true nature of their ideology and political agendas. Chapter five explores how the government and the loyalists responded to the princes’ literature. It illuminates how they circumvented potential diplomatic backlashes, gave lie to the princes’ accusations and played on noble psychology. Chapter five will then reveal, for the first time, how the loyalist pamphleteers used disinformation to nudge the political nation into eschewing the princes’ rebellions. In drawing together all these strands, the thesis will not only present a fresh and more nuanced understanding of the interdependence between politics, government and pamphleteering in 1614-1617, it will throw light on the ethos of the French great nobility and minister-favourites and the nature of princely rebellions. In the process, it elucidates the entangled relationship between power and the media as well as public and private interests in the politics of the era.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2024-05-10
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 10th May 2024
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