Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 November 2006
A court in exile: the Stuarts in France, 1689–1718. By Edward Corp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. xvi+386. ISBN 0-521-58462-0. £55.00.
Vienna and Versailles: the courts of Europe's dynastic rivals, 1550–1780. By Jeroen Duindam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Pp. xi+349. ISBN 0-521-82262-9. £60.00.
Intrigue and treason: the Tudor court, 1547–1558. By David Loades. Harlow: Pearson, 2004. Pp. x+326. ISBN 0-582-77226-5. £19.99.
Queenship in Europe, 1660–1815: the role of the consort. Edited by Clarissa Campbell Orr. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. xvii+419. ISBN 0-521-81422-7. £60.00.
Court culture in Dresden: from Renaissance to Baroque. By Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002. Pp. xv+310. ISBN 0-333-98448-X. £47.50.
Over the last three decades, the royal or princely court has become an established feature of the historiographical landscape of early modern Europe. The subject of a forest of monographs and theses, the theme of a plethora of university undergraduate courses, it has even gained an Anglo-American academic society (and accompanying journal) dedicated to ‘court studies’. While the first wave of Anglophone court historians, writing in the 1970s and 1980s, considered it necessary to state explicitly, as David Starkey did in his introduction to the seminal The English court, that the study of the early modern court was a legitimate historical activity, such a stance is no longer necessary. Indeed, few political historians would now omit the court from their narratives, even if their principal focus was directed elsewhere. In The English court, Starkey presented his enterprise, and that of his co-contributors, as part of a broader process of historical revisionism. But, by the late 1990s, court studies had itself become subject to its own internal forces of revisionism. The books reviewed here not only illustrate the diversity of projects undertaken by scholars of the court; they also critique the interpretations and approaches of an earlier generation of court historians.
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