Catalogue


If the king only knew : seditious speech in the Reign of Louis XV /
Lisa Jane Graham.
imprint
Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 2000.
description
xi, 324 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0813919274 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 2000.
isbn
0813919274 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
3816830
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-12-01:
This is an intriguing and well-argued study of the limits of free speech and the press in mid-18th-century France. The author uses case studies involving four men and a woman who fell afoul of the Paris police for suspicion of sedition. Four of them wrote works that criticized the royal ministers and mistresses for misgovernment, while the fifth concocted a tale of a conspiracy to assassinate Louis XV in hopes of gaining a reward for revealing it. When arrested, all five passionately proclaimed their loyalty to the king but failed to convince the authorities of it. Four received long prison terms; one was executed. None were seditious in the modern sense. The book's title reflects their attitude--if the king only knew what his ministers were up to. Graham uses the cases to show the growing tension between the popular perception (increasingly influenced by the Enlightenment) of how the monarchy should govern and the monarchy's refusal to allow any leeway for what it saw as subversive use of words. Based largely on research in French archives, the book is well written, with extensive notes and bibliography. Recommended for advanced students and researchers. F. J. Baumgartner; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"This is an intriguing and well-argued study of the limits of free speech and the press in mid-18th-century France..[Graham shows] the growing tension between the popular perception (increasingly influenced by the Enlightenment) of how the monarchy should govern and the monarchy's refusal to allow any leeway for what it saw as the subversive use of words. Based largely on research in French archives, the book is well written, with extensive notes and bibliography. Recommended for advanced students and researchers." -- CHOICE
"Graham's extensive work in three archives and some fine writing and translations make her book important reading for anyone working on law, conspiracies, free speech, and public opinion in the Old Regime." -- American Historical Review
Graham's extensive work in three archives and some fine writing and translations make her book important reading for anyone working on law, conspiracies, free speech, and public opinion in the Old Regime.
This is an intriguing and well-argued study of the limits of free speech and the press in mid-18th-century France..[Graham shows] the growing tension between the popular perception (increasingly influenced by the Enlightenment) of how the monarchy should govern and the monarchy's refusal to allow any leeway for what it saw as the subversive use of words. Based largely on research in French archives, the book is well written, with extensive notes and bibliography. Recommended for advanced students and researchers.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In May 1758, a bailiff named Jean Moriceau de La Motte was arrested for carrying seditious flyers and uttering mauvais discours against Louis XV. When he was questioned at the Bastille over the next several months, La Motte was unequivocal in his loyalty to the king, but his insistence failed to convince the police and probably hurt his case more than would have a simple admission of guilt. He was sentenced to be hanged on the Place de Grève after making his amends on the steps of Nôtre Dame. His punishment seemed severe, if not unwarranted, to an increasingly literate and informed Parisian populace that found censorship hard to support, either theoretically or practically, in the face of intellectual and cultural changes wrought by the Enlightenment.By looking at the police files for cases such as La Motte's, Lisa Jane Graham uncovers fascinating clues to the conflicting attitudes of eighteenth-century French subjects toward royal authority. Individuals like La Motte often failed to see the subversive implications of their words and protested their fidelity to the king in impassioned language. The crown's inability or refusal to accommodate a wider range of political speech turned the opinions of these indivduals into bitter grievances and sometimes crimes. Ironically, the decision to repress seditious speech not only alienated essentially loyal French men and women; by marking them as opponents of monarchical authority, it strengthened their sense of their own autonomy and legitimacy as social actors.The complex and surprising web of motivations lying at the heart of such loyalty, as revealed in the police files Graham examines, undermines some deeply rooted assumptions about the Enlightenment and its links to modernity. Graham's book presents the eighteenth century as the critical historical moment for studying how the premodern virtue of loyalty gave way to new ideas and vocabularies about the relationship between individuals and government. If the King Only Knew attests to the powerful emotional and ideological conflicts this difficult transition unleashed.
Publisher Fact Sheet
In May 1758, a bailiff named Jean Moriceau de La Motte was arrested for carrying seditious flyers & uttering mauvais discours against Louis XV. When he was questioned at the Bastille over the next several months, La Motte was unequivocal in his loyalty to the king, but his insistence failed to convince the police & probably hurt his case more than would have a simple admission of guilt. He was sentenced to be hanged on the Place de Greve after making his amends on the steps of Notre Dame. His punishment seemed severe, if not unwarranted, to an increasingly literate & informed Parisian populace that found censorship hard to support, either theoretically or practically, in the face of intellectual & cultural changes wrought by the Enlightenment. By looking at the police files for cases such as La Motte's, Lisa Jane Graham uncovers fascinating clues to the conflicting attitudes of eighteenth-century French subjects toward royal authority. Individuals like La Motte often failed to see the subversive implications of their words & protested their fidelity to the king in impassioned language. The crown's inability or refusal to accommodate a wider range of political speech turned the opinions of these individuals into bitter grievances & sometimes crimes. Ironically, the decision to repress seditious speech not only alienated essentially loyal French men & women; by marking them as opponents of monarchical authority, it strengthened their sense of their own autonomy & legitimacy as social actors. The complex & surprising web of motivations lying at the heart of such loyalty, as revealed in the police files Graham examines, undermines some deeply rooted assumptions about the Enlightenment & its links to modernity. Graham's book presents the eighteenth century as the critical historical moment for studying how the premodern virtue of loyalty gave way to new ideas & vocabularies about the relationship between individuals & government. If the King Only Knew attests to the powerful emotional & ideological conflicts this difficult transition unleashed.
Unpaid Annotation
In May 1758, a bailiff named Jean Moriceau de La Motte was arrested for carrying seditious flyers and uttering mauvais discours against Louis XV. When he was questioned at the Bastille over the next several months, La Motte was unequivocal in his loyalty to the king, but his insistence failed to convince the police and probably hurt his case more than would have a simple admission of guilt. He was sentenced to be hanged on the Place de Greve after making his amends on the steps of Notre Dame. His punishment seemed severe, if not unwarranted, to an increasingly literate and informed Parisian populace that found censorship hard to support, either theoretically or practically, in the face of intellectual and cultural changes wrought by the Enlightenment.By looking at the police files for cases such as La Motte's, Lisa Jane Graham uncovers fascinating clues to the conflicting attitudes of eighteenth-century French subjects toward royal authority. Individuals like La Motte often failed to see the subversive implications of their words and protested their fidelity to the king in impassioned language. The crown's inability or refusal to accommodate a wider range of political speech turned the opinions of these individuals into bitter grievances and sometimes crimes. Ironically, the decision to repress seditious speech not only alienated essentially loyal French men and women; by marking them as opponents of monarchical authority, it strengthened their sense of their own autonomy and legitimacy as social actors.The complex and surprising web of motivations lying at the heart of such loyalty, as revealed in the police files Graham examines, undermines some deeply rooted assumptions aboutthe Enlightenment and its links to modernity. Graham's book presents the eighteenth century as the critical historical moment for studying how the premodern virtue of loyalty gave way to new ideas and vocabularies about the r
Main Description
In May 1758, a bailiff named Jean Moriceau de La Motte was arrested for carrying seditious flyers and uttering mauvais discours against Louis XV. When he was questioned at the Bastille over the next several months, La Motte was unequivocal in his loyalty to the king, but his insistence failed to convince the police and probably hurt his case more than would have a simple admission of guilt. He was sentenced to be hanged on the Place de Gr ve after making his amends on the steps of N tre Dame. His punishment seemed severe, if not unwarranted, to an increasingly literate and informed Parisian populace that found censorship hard to support, either theoretically or practically, in the face of intellectual and cultural changes wrought by the Enlightenment. By looking at the police files for cases such as La Motte's, Lisa Jane Graham uncovers fascinating clues to the conflicting attitudes of eighteenth-century French subjects toward royal authority. Individuals like La Motte often failed to see the subversive implications of their words and protested their fidelity to the king in impassioned language. The crown's inability or refusal to accommodate a wider range of political speech turned the opinions of these indivduals into bitter grievances and sometimes crimes. Ironically, the decision to repress seditious speech not only alienated essentially loyal French men and women; by marking them as opponents of monarchical authority, it strengthened their sense of their own autonomy and legitimacy as social actors. The complex and surprising web of motivations lying at the heart of such loyalty, as revealed in the police files Graham examines, undermines some deeply rooted assumptions about the Enlightenment and its links to modernity. Graham's book presents the eighteenth century as the critical historical moment for studying how the premodern virtue of loyalty gave way to new ideas and vocabularies about the relationship between individuals and government. If the King Only Knew attests to the powerful emotional and ideological conflicts this difficult transition unleashed.
Main Description
In May 1758, a bailiff named Jean Moriceau de La Motte was arrested for carrying seditious flyers and uttering mauvais discours against Louis XV. When he was questioned at the Bastille over the next several months, La Motte was unequivocal in his loyalty to the king, but his insistence failed to convince the police and probably hurt his case more than would have a simple admission of guilt. He was sentenced to be hanged on the Place de Grève after making his amends on the steps of Notre Dame. His punishment seemed severe, if not unwarranted, to an increasingly literate and informed Parisian populace that found censorship hard to support, either theoretically or practically, in the face of intellectual and cultural changes wrought by the Enlightenment. By looking at the police files for cases such as La Motte's, Lisa Jane Graham uncovers fascinating clues to the conflicting attitudes of eighteenth-century French subjects toward royal authority. Individuals like La Motte often failed to see the subversive implications of their words and protested their fidelity to the king in impassioned language. The crown's inability or refusal to accommodate a wider range of political speech turned the opinions of these indivduals into bitter grievances and sometimes crimes. Ironically, the decision to repress seditious speech not only alienated essentially loyal French men and women; by marking them as opponents of monarchical authority, it strengthened their sense of their own autonomy and legitimacy as social actors. The complex and surprising web of motivations lying at the heart of such loyalty, as revealed in the police files Graham examines, undermines some deeply rooted assumptions about the Enlightenment and its links to modernity. Graham's book presents the eighteenth century as the critical historical moment for studying how the premodern virtue of loyalty gave way to new ideas and vocabularies about the relationship between individuals and government. If the King Only Knew attests to the powerful emotional and ideological conflicts this difficult transition unleashed.

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