Feminism, Absolutism, and Jansenism

Feminism, Absolutism, and Jansenism : Louis XIV and the Port-Royal Nuns

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Feminism, Absolutism, and Jansenism chronicles seventy years of Jansenist conflict and its complex intersection with power struggles between gallican bishops, Parlementaires, the Crown and the Pope. Daniella Kostroun focuses on the nuns of Port-Royal-des-Champs, whose community was disbanded by Louis XIV in 1709 as a threat to the state. Paradoxically, it was the nuns' adherence to their strict religious rule and the ideal of pious, innocent and politically disinterested behavior that allowed them to challenge absolutism effectively. Adopting methods from cultural studies, feminism and the Cambridge School of political thought, Kostroun examines how these nuns placed gender at the heart of the Jansenist challenge to the patriarchal and religious foundations of absolutism; they responded to royal persecution with a feminist defense of women's spiritual and rational equality and of the autonomy of the individual subject, thereby offering a bold challenge to the patriarchal and religious foundations of absolutism.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 280 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139036823
  • 9781139036825

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Jansenism as a 'woman problem'; 2. Controversy and reform at Port Royal; 3. Jansenism's political turn, 1652-61; 4. The limits to obedience, 1661-4; 5. A feminist response to absolutism, 1664-9; 6. The unsettled peace, 1669-79; 7. A royal victory, 1679-1709; Conclusion.show more

About Daniella Kostroun

Daniella Kostroun is currently Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She is the co-editor (with Lisa Vollendorf) of Women, Religion, and the Atlantic World, 1600-1800 and the author of 'A Formula for Disobedience: Jansenism, Gender and the Feminist Paradox', which appeared in the Journal of Modern History and won the 2004 Chester Penn Higby Prize from the Modern European History section of the American Historical Association.show more

Review quote

"While of interest to scholars, the book's clear explanation of basic tenets and figures in Jansenism makes the work accessible to nonspecialists. Recommended." -Choice "...those who follow lines of power and social influence will find much here to digest." -William Beik, The Journal of Modern Historyshow more

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