James B. Collins

The Republican Monarchy State and Society in France Under Louis XIV Publication date : February 24, 2016

James B. Collins is a professor of history at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. He is known for his works on the State and society in early modern France.
He has written about the 1675 revolt in Brittany and published one of the rare syntheses on the monarchy in pre-revolutionary France: The State in Early Modern France (Cambridge University Press, 1995), which has become the authoritative work on the subject for history students in the English-speaking world.

A new approach to France under Louis XIV and to Ancien Régime society

This book takes a new, critical approach to the history of the French monarchy and State. Beginning with an analysis of such notions as ‘the Republic’, which first emerged in 14th-century France, and ‘the public good’, James B. Collins shows how both notions grew and became inscribed in the French monarchy. Developing a new understanding of the modern French State, Collins challenges the traditional views of both historians and the general reader, and argues that it is just as mistaken to link absolutism to Louis XIV’s regime as it is to speak of immobilism in relation to French society of the time.
This complete reappraisal of French history as it has been traditionally taught offers a new representation of Ancien Régime society.

• A rigorous analysis based on new source material, written by an eminent historian.
• With its iconoclastic approach punctuated with touches of humour, this book is an excellent introduction to an influential trend in current Anglo-American historiography — one that challenges the notion of Absolutism in defining the pre-revolutionary French monarchy.