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The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture: Old Regime Europe 1660-1789

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture: Old Regime Europe 1660-1789.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    T. C. W. Blanning(Author)

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In this fascinating new account of Old Regime Europe, T.C.W. Blanning explores the cultural revolution whichtransformed eighteenth-century Europe. During this period the court culture exemplified by Louis XIV's Versailles was pushed from the centre to the margins by the emergence of a new kind of space - the public sphere.The author shows how many of the world's most important cultural institutions developed in this space: the periodical, the newspaper, the novel, the lending library, the coffee house, the voluntary association, the journalist, and the critic.It was here that public opinion staked its claim to be the ultimate arbiter of culture and politics.For the established order this new force was to prove both a challenge and an opportunity and the author's comparative study of power and culture shows how regimes sought to keep their balance as the ground moved beneath their feet.In the process he explains, among other things, why Britain won the 'Second Hundred Years War' against France, how Prussia rose to become the dominant power in German-speaking Europe, and why the French monarchy collapsed.

This is an excellent cultural history. Tim Blanning's book explores the architectural, literary, artistic and musical features of old regime Europe and elegantly sets them within the wider landscape of domestic politics, international rivalry and the challenges and opportunities posed to rulers and states by the rise of public opinion ... impressive in scope, beautifully written and full of the jibes and wry asides which make the relentlessly growing body of work by this author so enjoyable to read ... (Mike Rapport, French Studies)handsomely produced, clearly written and vigorously argued, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture is full of things to admire, ponder and quarrel with. (German History)This book is a work of synthesis, built on the author's impressive command over the vast scholarly literature on eighteenth-century politics and culture.But while the contours of his historical landscape are familiar enough, Blanning offers a variety of original insights, stimulating analyses and critical comments on other interpretations. (German History)His [Blanning's] prose remains as terse and lively as ever. (English Historical Review)Well-written and interesting ... Blanning's work rests on wide-ranging reading, and is theoretically acute and attractively priced.Art and music are both capably covered ... Few have Blanning's range.He is particularly interesting on developments in France and is good at capturing the changing character of attitudes towards the monarchy.Blanning offers one of the best short accounts available of the coming of the Revolution ... first-rate work. (History)For sheer boldness of scale and ambition, I encountered nothing better this year. (John Adamson, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph)As a lucid and readable general survey, as a concise presentation of the results of new research (especially German research), and as a serious and successful attempt to integrate the history of music into general history, this book deserves a warm welcome (Peter Burke, History Today)Wide ranging and accessible. (The Economist)A bravura display of broad scholarship, interpretative originality, and literary panache. (John Adamson, Literary Review)This book sets new standards for historical writing by demonstrating the fallaciousness of the arbitrary division between political and cultural history (still extensively maintained within the groves of academe), and by magnificently exemplifying the truth that neither can be properly understood without the other'. (John Adamson, Literary Review)

3.4 (4730)
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Book details

  • PDF | 479 pages
  • T. C. W. Blanning(Author)
  • OUP Oxford (14 Feb. 2002)
  • English
  • 10
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

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Review Text

  • By British Academy Book Prize Judges on 12 December 2003

    Timothy Blanning's The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture tackles one of the most interesting questions in political and cultural history – how different regimes in the late 18th Century attempted to project and protect their authority by cultural, non-political and non-military means. More than any of his predecessors, Blanning focuses on music and opera as wll as on more familiar literary activities; he gives, in the process, a vivid and engaging picture of the way in which different courts enhanced their social and political standing through public concerts and opera on a grand scale. The book also provides a novel understanding of the role of the aristocracy in the creation of what is too commonly labelled 'the bourgeois public sphere'; and it culminates in a re-telling from a novel perspective of the contribution of cultural forces in the downfall of the French ancien regime. The role of a public culture in creating national and nationalistic aspirations that the sclerotic regime of Louis XVI could not accommodate is explored in an original and persuasive fashion. So that we end at a familiar destination only after taking an unusually imaginative route.

  • By John H Dagg on 10 March 2013

    Highly readable, wide ranging across all the arts. Specially good on music.Manages to be both entertaining and highly intelligent. Bravo!


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