This chapter dispels the myth of Pierre de L’Estoile as a passive observer of his times and introduces his role as an engaged collector who negotiated and commemorated the conflicts that divided France in the Wars of Religion. It outlines an approach to L’Estoile and his world that emphasizes individual agency over cultural determinism and the possibilities of religious pluralism in the post-Reformation period over the binaries of confessional conflict. A Gallican Catholic resistant to papal authority, L’Estoile prudently avoided confessional conflict in his own life and showed great respect for individual Protestants among his friends and relations. From his perspective, the Wars of Religion appear more confessionally ambiguous in the responses they provoked, more socially specific in their impact on individuals at different levels of the hierarchy, and more culturally diverse in the memories they left behind.
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