John Shovlin

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Historians of the Ancien Régime long viewed the nobility as a holdover from a feudal age, an antiquated breed condemned to a slow, and ultimately terminal, decline. Nobles were regarded as the casualties of secular political and social transformations: the rise of the absolutist state, which stripped them of political power; and economic transformations, which increased the relative wealth of non-nobles, and empowered them to challenge the nobility's supremacy. Since the 1960s, however, revisionist scholarship has almost entirely jettisoned this view. The nobility is now widely seen as a social group that participated massively in the processes of modernization that transformed seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe. Through its economic role and values, its service to the monarchical state, its openness to new recruits, and its engagement in the public sphere, the nobility moved with the times.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Régime
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Electronic)9780191744105
    ISBN (Print)9780199291205
    StatePublished - Nov 10 2011


    • Ancien Régime
    • Feudal age
    • Monarchical state
    • Nobility
    • Political institution
    • Social group

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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