Week 21

Week 21: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
King Henry IV

Henry IV (December 13, 1553 to May 14, 1610) was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France. His parents were Queen Jeanne III of Navarre and King Antoine Bourbon of Navarre. Henry is one of the most fascinating monarchs in all of French history. He is complex and attractive and finally, he is important. His personal choice to convert to Roman Catholicism in order to unite his divided nation is one of the great acts of political courage. His very brief reign follows sixty years of religious wars. He brings France together and for that he is honored still as one of the greatest kings in French history.

LECTURE NOTES:

Here below you will find a one page family
tree for the Bourbon family of Henry IV.

RECOMMENDED READING

Vincent J. Pitts,

Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age,

Johns Hopkins University Press (January 19, 2012),

ISBN 1421405784

22

Week 22: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
King Louis XIII

Louis XIII (September 27, 1601 to May 14, 1643) was King of France and Navarre from 1610 to 1643. Along with his First Minister Cardinal Richelieu, Louis "the Just" is remembered for the establishment of the Académie française and participation in the Thirty Years' War against the House of Habsburg. France's greatest victory in the war came at the Battle of Rocroi, five days after Louis' death, "marking the end of Spain's military ascendancy in Europe."  Louis' peaceful succession to the throne at age 10 in the midst of the crisis of his father's assassination continues the two-hundred-year Bourbon story in France.   His mother Marie de' Medici dominates the first decade of his reign.

PART TWO: PICTURES:

Nicolas Poussin (June 15, 1594 to November 19, 1665) was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century. Until the 20th century he remained the major inspiration for such classically-oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David and Paul Cézanne.  Poussin is the father of seventeenth-century Classicism so in this second week of our class, we want to pause to talk about Classicism in the arts and the work of this very great French painter.  In later weeks we will explore other aspects of French Classicism: Versailles and Moliere's theater.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

A. Lloyd Moote,

Louis XIII, the Just,

University of California Press; Reprint edition (August 8, 1991),

ISBN 0520075463

poussin

23

Week 23: Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Louis XIV

Louis XIV (September 5, 1638 to September 1, 1715), known as the Sun King (French: le Roi Soleil), was King of France and of Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days, and is the longest documented reign of any European monarch. Louis is the image of the great long-lived Ancien Regime. This regime was enshrined at Louis' spectacular creation: Versailles. The world of Versailles, the politics, the art, the gardens were the quitessence of the early modern French state. Every great achievement and every evil that would finally bring the whole structure down in June of 1789 was part of the world of Versailles.

Louis14

Louis and his family portrayed as Roman gods in a 1670 painting by Jean Nocret.
Left to Right: Louis's aunt, Henriette-Marie; his brother, Philippe, duc d 'Orleans; the Duke's daughter, Marie Louise d' Orleans, and wife, Henriette-Anne Stuart; the Queen-mother, Anne of Austria; three daughters of Gaston d' Orleans (son of Louis XIII); Louis XIV; the Dauphin Louis; Queen Marie-Therese; la Grande Mademoiselle Anne Marie of Orleans, (granddaughter of Henry IV).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

The best book on Louis XIV and Versailles in English is W. H. Lewis, The Splendid Century.

W.H. Lewis,

The Splendid Century: Life in the France of Louis XIV,

Waveland Pr Inc (January 1997),

ISBN 0881339210

24

Week 24: Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Molière

MoliereJean-Baptiste Poquelin, mostly known by his stage name Molière, (January 15, 1622 to February 17, 1673) was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known dramas are Le Misanthrope (The Misanthrope), L'École des femmes (The School for Wives), Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur, (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), L'Avare ou L'École du mensonge (The Miser), Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman). Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped him polish his comic abilities while he began writing, combining Commedia dell'Arte elements with the more refined French comedy.

At the right is a portrait of Molière by Nicholas Mignard in the role of Julius Caesar.  This painting is now in the Carnavalet Museum, Paris.

We will read Tartuffe.

REQUIRED READING

Molière,

The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and Other Plays,

Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (July 15, 2008),

ISBN 0199540187

25

Week 25: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Voltaire

From Wikipedia: François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke them. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize Catholic Church dogma and the French institutions of his day. Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.

REQUIRED READING

We will read Voltaire's witty little short story "Micromegas"

You will find a text on line at: Voltaire's Micromegas

RECOMMENDED READING:

Ian Davidson,

Voltaire: A Life,

Pegasus; Reprint edition (March 12, 2012),

ISBN 1605982873

26

Week 26: Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Jean Jacques Rousseau

Voltaire and Rousseau are two of the most important thinkers in the whole of Western Civilization. They both lived in the middle of the Eighteenth Century and they knew each other and each other's work. They wrote to each other and about each other and one could suggest without distorting things that their dialogue is essentially the dialogue that all of Western Civilization was having with itself in mid century. The change from the world of Voltaire to the world of the upstart Rousseau was the change that would usher in Romanticism and would change the way the West was thinking forever. We will read a beautiful essay on nature by Rousseau. His ideas changed how people thought about nature and his ideas still dominate our modern vision of nature.

REQUIRED READING

Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Reveries of the Solitary Walker,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140443630

27

Week 27: Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

From Wikipedia: "Louis XVI of France (August 23, 1754 to January 21, 1793) ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1774 until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792. Suspended and arrested during the Insurrection of 10 August 1792, he was tried by the National Convention, found guilty of treason, and executed by guillotine on January 21, 1793. He was the only king of France to be executed."  The text from Wikipedia has a stunning simplicity.  The story of Louis and Marie Antoinette is one of the great dramas, one of the great tragedies of modern politics.  Only a very great writer such an Lady Antonia Fraser could accurately describe the descent from the heights of power to the dark frightening depths of a prison cell in Paris that Marie and Louis traversed.  We will try to tell their story in Week 27.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING:

Antonia Fraser,

Marie Antoinette: The Journey,

Anchor (November 12, 2002),

ISBN 0385489498

28

Week 28: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Art and Revolution

In his seventy seven years (1748-1825), David painted everything, knew everybody, participated in every major political event, and gave us all a brilliant record of revolutionary France. He had very good luck. He was always in the right place at the right time. He climbed to the peak of power in the Revolution, and then when the revolution devoured its own including David, and David ended up in jail, he picked exactly the right survivor midst the chaos of the Terror and his new acquaintance, a young army man from Corsica, saved him and carried him again to the top. David's life and art is one of the great stories of Eighteenth-century France. And many of his paintings are spectacular. He is the creator of one of the most influential paintings of all time: "The Oath of the Horatii" now in the Louvre (see below).

A list of important works:
1. Belisarius (1781), Musée de Beaux Arts, Lille
2. The Death of Socrates (1787), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
3. The Oath of the Horatii (1788), Louvre, Paris
4. Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his wife (1788), Metropolitan Museum of Art NY
5. The Death of Marat (1793), Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

oath

RECOMMENDED READING. A VERY BEAUTIFUL BOOK:

Philippe Bordes,

Jaques-Louis David: Empire to Exile,

Sterling and Francine Clark Ar; First Softcover Printing edition (2005),

ISBN 093110260X

29

Week 29: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The French Revolution

The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of radical social and political upheaval in French and European history. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic, and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from liberal political groups and the masses on the streets. Old ideas about hierarchy and tradition succumbed to new Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights.

LECTURE NOTES:

The French Revolution

LECTURE NOTES:

Chronology of the French Revolution

RECOMMENDED READING

William Doyle,

The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction,

Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 6, 2001),

ISBN 0192853961

30

Week 30: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
The Terror

Wikipedia: The Reign of Terror (27 June 1793 – 27 July 1794), also known as the The Terror (French: la Terreur) was a period of violence that occurred for one year and one month after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of the revolution." Estimates vary widely as to how many were killed, with numbers ranging from 16,000 to 40,000; in many cases, records were not kept, or if they were, they are considered likely to be inaccurate. The guillotine ("National Razor") became the symbol of a string of executions: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, the Girondins, Philippe Égalité (Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans) and Madame Roland, as well as many others, such as "the father of modern chemistry" Antoine Lavoisier, lost their lives under its blade.

All

Week 21: Wed., Mar. 29, 2017
King Henry IV

Henry IV (December 13, 1553 to May 14, 1610) was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France. His parents were Queen Jeanne III of Navarre and King Antoine Bourbon of Navarre. Henry is one of the most fascinating monarchs in all of French history. He is complex and attractive and finally, he is important. His personal choice to convert to Roman Catholicism in order to unite his divided nation is one of the great acts of political courage. His very brief reign follows sixty years of religious wars. He brings France together and for that he is honored still as one of the greatest kings in French history.

LECTURE NOTES:

Here below you will find a one page family
tree for the Bourbon family of Henry IV.

RECOMMENDED READING

Vincent J. Pitts,

Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age,

Johns Hopkins University Press (January 19, 2012),

ISBN 1421405784

Week 22: Wed., Apr. 5, 2017
King Louis XIII

Louis XIII (September 27, 1601 to May 14, 1643) was King of France and Navarre from 1610 to 1643. Along with his First Minister Cardinal Richelieu, Louis "the Just" is remembered for the establishment of the Académie française and participation in the Thirty Years' War against the House of Habsburg. France's greatest victory in the war came at the Battle of Rocroi, five days after Louis' death, "marking the end of Spain's military ascendancy in Europe."  Louis' peaceful succession to the throne at age 10 in the midst of the crisis of his father's assassination continues the two-hundred-year Bourbon story in France.   His mother Marie de' Medici dominates the first decade of his reign.

PART TWO: PICTURES:

Nicolas Poussin (June 15, 1594 to November 19, 1665) was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century. Until the 20th century he remained the major inspiration for such classically-oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David and Paul Cézanne.  Poussin is the father of seventeenth-century Classicism so in this second week of our class, we want to pause to talk about Classicism in the arts and the work of this very great French painter.  In later weeks we will explore other aspects of French Classicism: Versailles and Moliere's theater.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

A. Lloyd Moote,

Louis XIII, the Just,

University of California Press; Reprint edition (August 8, 1991),

ISBN 0520075463

poussin

Week 23: Wed., Apr. 12, 2017
Louis XIV

Louis XIV (September 5, 1638 to September 1, 1715), known as the Sun King (French: le Roi Soleil), was King of France and of Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days, and is the longest documented reign of any European monarch. Louis is the image of the great long-lived Ancien Regime. This regime was enshrined at Louis' spectacular creation: Versailles. The world of Versailles, the politics, the art, the gardens were the quitessence of the early modern French state. Every great achievement and every evil that would finally bring the whole structure down in June of 1789 was part of the world of Versailles.

Louis14

Louis and his family portrayed as Roman gods in a 1670 painting by Jean Nocret.
Left to Right: Louis's aunt, Henriette-Marie; his brother, Philippe, duc d 'Orleans; the Duke's daughter, Marie Louise d' Orleans, and wife, Henriette-Anne Stuart; the Queen-mother, Anne of Austria; three daughters of Gaston d' Orleans (son of Louis XIII); Louis XIV; the Dauphin Louis; Queen Marie-Therese; la Grande Mademoiselle Anne Marie of Orleans, (granddaughter of Henry IV).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

The best book on Louis XIV and Versailles in English is W. H. Lewis, The Splendid Century.

W.H. Lewis,

The Splendid Century: Life in the France of Louis XIV,

Waveland Pr Inc (January 1997),

ISBN 0881339210

Week 24: Wed., Apr. 19, 2017
Molière

MoliereJean-Baptiste Poquelin, mostly known by his stage name Molière, (January 15, 1622 to February 17, 1673) was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière's best-known dramas are Le Misanthrope (The Misanthrope), L'École des femmes (The School for Wives), Tartuffe ou L'Imposteur, (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), L'Avare ou L'École du mensonge (The Miser), Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), and Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman). Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped him polish his comic abilities while he began writing, combining Commedia dell'Arte elements with the more refined French comedy.

At the right is a portrait of Molière by Nicholas Mignard in the role of Julius Caesar.  This painting is now in the Carnavalet Museum, Paris.

We will read Tartuffe.

REQUIRED READING

Molière,

The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and Other Plays,

Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (July 15, 2008),

ISBN 0199540187

Week 25: Wed., Apr. 26, 2017
Voltaire

From Wikipedia: François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke them. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize Catholic Church dogma and the French institutions of his day. Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.

REQUIRED READING

We will read Voltaire's witty little short story "Micromegas"

You will find a text on line at: Voltaire's Micromegas

RECOMMENDED READING:

Ian Davidson,

Voltaire: A Life,

Pegasus; Reprint edition (March 12, 2012),

ISBN 1605982873

Week 26: Wed., May. 3, 2017
Jean Jacques Rousseau

Voltaire and Rousseau are two of the most important thinkers in the whole of Western Civilization. They both lived in the middle of the Eighteenth Century and they knew each other and each other's work. They wrote to each other and about each other and one could suggest without distorting things that their dialogue is essentially the dialogue that all of Western Civilization was having with itself in mid century. The change from the world of Voltaire to the world of the upstart Rousseau was the change that would usher in Romanticism and would change the way the West was thinking forever. We will read a beautiful essay on nature by Rousseau. His ideas changed how people thought about nature and his ideas still dominate our modern vision of nature.

REQUIRED READING

Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Reveries of the Solitary Walker,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140443630

Week 27: Wed., May. 10, 2017
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

From Wikipedia: "Louis XVI of France (August 23, 1754 to January 21, 1793) ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1774 until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792. Suspended and arrested during the Insurrection of 10 August 1792, he was tried by the National Convention, found guilty of treason, and executed by guillotine on January 21, 1793. He was the only king of France to be executed."  The text from Wikipedia has a stunning simplicity.  The story of Louis and Marie Antoinette is one of the great dramas, one of the great tragedies of modern politics.  Only a very great writer such an Lady Antonia Fraser could accurately describe the descent from the heights of power to the dark frightening depths of a prison cell in Paris that Marie and Louis traversed.  We will try to tell their story in Week 27.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING:

Antonia Fraser,

Marie Antoinette: The Journey,

Anchor (November 12, 2002),

ISBN 0385489498

Week 28: Wed., May. 17, 2017
Art and Revolution

In his seventy seven years (1748-1825), David painted everything, knew everybody, participated in every major political event, and gave us all a brilliant record of revolutionary France. He had very good luck. He was always in the right place at the right time. He climbed to the peak of power in the Revolution, and then when the revolution devoured its own including David, and David ended up in jail, he picked exactly the right survivor midst the chaos of the Terror and his new acquaintance, a young army man from Corsica, saved him and carried him again to the top. David's life and art is one of the great stories of Eighteenth-century France. And many of his paintings are spectacular. He is the creator of one of the most influential paintings of all time: "The Oath of the Horatii" now in the Louvre (see below).

A list of important works:
1. Belisarius (1781), Musée de Beaux Arts, Lille
2. The Death of Socrates (1787), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
3. The Oath of the Horatii (1788), Louvre, Paris
4. Portrait of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and his wife (1788), Metropolitan Museum of Art NY
5. The Death of Marat (1793), Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

oath

RECOMMENDED READING. A VERY BEAUTIFUL BOOK:

Philippe Bordes,

Jaques-Louis David: Empire to Exile,

Sterling and Francine Clark Ar; First Softcover Printing edition (2005),

ISBN 093110260X

Week 29: Wed., May. 24, 2017
The French Revolution

The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of radical social and political upheaval in French and European history. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic, and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from liberal political groups and the masses on the streets. Old ideas about hierarchy and tradition succumbed to new Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights.

LECTURE NOTES:

The French Revolution

LECTURE NOTES:

Chronology of the French Revolution

RECOMMENDED READING

William Doyle,

The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction,

Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 6, 2001),

ISBN 0192853961

Week 30: Wed., May. 31, 2017
The Terror

Wikipedia: The Reign of Terror (27 June 1793 – 27 July 1794), also known as the The Terror (French: la Terreur) was a period of violence that occurred for one year and one month after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of the revolution." Estimates vary widely as to how many were killed, with numbers ranging from 16,000 to 40,000; in many cases, records were not kept, or if they were, they are considered likely to be inaccurate. The guillotine ("National Razor") became the symbol of a string of executions: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, the Girondins, Philippe Égalité (Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans) and Madame Roland, as well as many others, such as "the father of modern chemistry" Antoine Lavoisier, lost their lives under its blade.