Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy (1550-1730)

Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy (1550-1730)

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Description

A sociocultural analysis of the relationships among law, religion, and sexual morality in Burgundy during the Catholic Reformation, this book is divided into two, interrelated parts: the world of prescription and the world of practice. The first part examines the construction of authority, focusing primarily upon Burgundy's dominant elite legal community. The second part of the book examines the deployment of authority, and its appropriation by French men and women. The new moral order focused on sexuality and the imposition of this order involved a legal contest over the disposition of bodies, both male and female, be they priests, courting couples, victims of seduction or rape, or prostitutes. James Farr's book offers an unusually fertile approach to study the link between sexuality and criminality.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 262 pages
  • 161.5 x 243.3 x 23.9mm | 562.34g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 halftones, 1 map, tables
  • 0195089073
  • 9780195089073

Back cover copy

Focusing on a historical time and place rich with implications for the interactions among law, religion, and sexual morality, Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy is an incisive analysis of the tension between the prescriptive and the practical aspects of law. As Catholic Reform penetrated and was institutionalized in Early Modern France, legal codes reached further than before into realms of moral behavior. James Farr reveals how Burgundy's dominant, elite legal community attempted to impose new laws and regulations to recover a social order they believed had been destroyed in the upheavals of the sixteenth century. Among their chief objectives was the imposition of patriarchy to be accomplished by the construction of a more rigorous gender hierarchy and a greater disciplining of sexual passions. As a series of moral codes governing the disposition of human bodies, the new order of morality established authority over the sexual behavior of priests, courting couples, victims of seduction or rape, and prostitutes, among others. In practice, however, the exigencies of criminal procedure transformed the written rules into a resource of strategic power, often used by judges and litigants to achieve ends quite different from those originally intended. Informed by recent theoretical insights from legal anthropology and French social theory, and making use of a variety of original sources, particularly the court records of moral crime, Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy draws an important, systematic link between the histories of sexuality and criminality at a time when there was no clear distinction between sin and crime. It will be essential reading for scholars andstudents of French history, social history, legal history, and the history of sexuality.show more

Review quote

James R. Farr draws heavily upon archival research and a careful reading in Counter-Reformation and social theory scholarship...this is more than a narrow regional study. it is a deeply textured argument, intended for a wide audience, that ably demonstrates that even though the religious fervor of the Counter-Reformation peaked in the 1690s, the judicial politics of eighteenth-century France elites remained heavily influenced by Counter-Reformation ideas of discipline, sin, and female concupiscence. * History *show more