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352book reviews deists, their role in undermining the authority of the Church lay not so much in the direct chaUenge that they posed to that authority but in suggesting the possibility ofsocial values that did not require the validation of Catholic orthodoxy. In framing his argument, Phillips uses the concept of space because spaces, he says, foUowing Foucault, are related to power and control. Thus there are frequent references to the space ofbelief, of dissent, of hostility, etc. Framed in this way, the argument sometimes seems too abstract, and the issues of power and control are not clearly worked out. Nevertheless, the book provides a useful overview of French culture at a critical moment in its history. Alexander Sedgwick The University of Virginia Mazarin.The Crisis ofAbsolutism in France. By Geoffrey Treasure. (NewYork: Routledge. 1995. Pp. xv,413· $39.95 clothbound; $22.95 paperback.) The period from the death of Louis XIII Ln 1643 to the beginning of the personal reign of Louis XTV in 1661 was one of the most tumultuous and complex in French history. It was as well the "age of Mazarin," the cardinal-minister who merged Italianate style with French statecraft, who increased French glory and reputation at the expense of revolts, social tension, and economic dislocation, and who has provoked passionate reactions from contemporaries and historians alike. The difficulties in understanding Mazarin's life and times mean that only accomplished historians—recently Georges Dethan and Pierre Goubert and now Geoffrey Treasure—could hope to offer satisfactory biographies of Giulio Mazarini. Treasure's mastery of seventeenth-century France, seen in earlier books, is evident in this rehabilitation of Mazarin, a man Treasure obviously admires but not to the extent of ignoring the first minister's shortcomings. ForTreasure, Mazarin's greatness Ues in his accomplishments, notably his success in diplomacy and his training of Louis XTV. Diplomacy was his métier, beginning in Rome in the service of Pope Urban VHI and ending with the marriage ofLouis XFV to Maria Teresa, Infanta of Spain. Mazarin's close attention to foreign affairs (he was his own foreign minister) centered on the Thirty Years' War and on Spain, France's great, but declining rival. Even during the worst days of the Fronde, Mazarin doggedly pursued his goals: defensible frontiers and a political hegemony to match French cultural and linguistic influence . His achievements include, of course, the Peace of Westphalia and the Peace of the Pyrenees. In increasing French territory and security, Mazarin followed closely the policies of Richelieu, who had recognized the papal diplomat's talents. Treasure sees Mazarin and Louis XIV as heirs to Richelieu's absolutism, although the Sun King proved to be more aggressive in foreign policy than the two cardinalministers . Treasure might have addressed the nature of absolutism, especially in light of the historiographical baggage that the term holds. BOOK REVIEWS353 Mazarin left to France not only political security, but also his magnificent Ubrary and paintings. Here was seen Italy's influence on France, for although Mazarin devoted himseU—at the cost of his health—to the French monarchy, he remained Roman in his aesthetic sense, in his love of books, art, and music, to which one might add his sense of courtesy. Motivated by personal ambition and by devotion to his casa (he gave support to his sisters and nieces) as weU as by loyalty to France, to Anne ofAustria, and to Louis XTV, Mazarin fit easUy into behavior and attitudes common to early modern elites. He never considered the burden of war finance (increased taxation ) on those who could least afford to pay. His greed was rampant; from 1650 untU his death in 1661, he accumulated a fortune valued at thirty-nine million livres, surpassing Richelieu's twenty-four milUon (amassed over a longer period of time). Mazarin made mistakes, as Treasure points out. WhUe he was diUgent in his duties, resUient against setbacks during the Fronde, and tough when the situation warranted, Mazarin misunderstood the motivations of parUamentary/rondeurs , in part because he imperfectly grasped French legal tradition. According to Treasure, the cardinal-minister might have Ustened more attentively to his opponents and might have been more astute in evaluating public opinion...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 352-353
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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