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League Memories: Recollections of Catholic political engagement in late sixteenth-century Paris

Critchlow, Melville Mark (2015) League Memories: Recollections of Catholic political engagement in late sixteenth-century Paris. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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The Histoire anonyme is an important manuscript for our understanding of the Catholic Ligue – especially in Paris – in the late sixteenth century. Written a generation after the demise of that movement in the mid-1590s, the original manuscript was later copied and then bound in two large volumes which were housed – until the Revolution – in the library of the Paris Oratoire. They now reside in the Bibliothèque nationale as manuscrits français 23295 and 23296. The first volume of the Histoire traces the story of the Ligue down to spring 1589. A severely edited version made by Charles Valois appeared in 1914. The second volume, a direct mid-story continuation from the first, takes the narrative through to Henri IV’s triumphal entry into Paris in March 1594. As well as covering events in the capital – particularly the regicide, the long siege and the Brisson affair – the historien anonyme frequently leads us into the provinces for (borrowed) accounts of battles and sieges. The work is frequently punctuated by inserts of contemporary documents and it is laced with the author’s opinions. Yet, for all its evident interest, it has been largely overlooked by historians and it remains unpublished. The Histoire is a story written by the defeated, one of only a few contemporary accounts of the Ligue – and the only comprehensive one – not to have emerged from the Politique camp which had stood by Henri of Navarre through the turbulent years after the regicide in 1589. Not that the historian is some haranguing Paris preacher, a hispanophile, un zélé. Rather, we pick up a voice hitherto rarely heard – that of a reasonable, moderate but devout Ligueur, seeking to correct misrepresentations issued by earlier writers. Thus, the text is a precious legacy, offering a story that royalist writers such as de Thou and L’Estoile neither told nor wished to hear. There is wistfulness… an admission that the Ligue made mistakes, an exploration of why they occurred, perhaps a ‘putting-in-order’ of memories in the autumn of life. In this dissertation, the nature of manuscript 23296 will be brought to light through examination of its early seventeenth-century historiographical context and by analysis of the text itself. After building on the work of Valois, and exploring the worlds of the Palais de Justice and the Oratoire with which the writer was associated, we will seek to identify our author. We will be able to inspect his bookshelf and become acquainted with his beliefs, values and opinions. And we will rediscover the Ligue. It is hoped that the dissertation will lay the groundwork from which others may one day publish a complete edition of the Histoire anonyme.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.647732
Depositing User: Mr Melville Mark Critchlow
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2015 12:45
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8970

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