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Pierre de L’Estoile and his World in the Wars of Religion$
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Tom Hamilton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198800095

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198800095.001.0001

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The Reign of Henri III, 1574‒1589

The Reign of Henri III, 1574‒1589

(p.97) 4 The Reign of Henri III, 1574‒1589
Pierre de L’Estoile and his World in the Wars of Religion

Tom Hamilton

Oxford University Press

L’Estoile wrote his definitive account of the reign of Henri III not in the form of an everyday diary, but as a formal history in a Tacitean style and a contribution to humanist historiography. He situated political events among all manner of curious occurrences in everyday life. In this way, his heavily revised, retrospective narrative argued that the moral decline throughout French society in the reign of Henri III caused the outbreak of the troubles of the League in 1589. This chapter argues that L’Estoile’s activity as a collector shaped his historical writing, particularly as he amassed and deployed poetic libels in his manuscripts as a means to control and condemn the scandalous literary culture of his times, characterized by unrestrained ‘French liberty in speech’.

Keywords:   Henry III, historiography, poetry, news, scandal, censorship, intellectual life

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