The Aristocratic World of the Eighteenth Century
Chapter 1 focuses on all the constraints, institutions, and norms of the premodern world, and looks at the way these played out in Central Europe. This entails discussion of the gravitational pull of traditional aristocratic privilege and lifestyle, the impact of landed power on identity, the role of imperial politics and the connection of the aristocracy to state authority, the impact of the French and German political and cultural worlds, cosmopolitanism, language use, and the Catholic Church. The argument of the chapter is that as resilient as these traditional categories of power and status were, they were not static, and in the eighteenth century, even before the French Revolution, they were being undermined by reform at the imperial and provincial level at the same time as intellectuals were debating the significance of privilege, rights, progress, and community.
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