Labour, Science and Technology in France, 1500-1620
For a generation, the history of the ancien régime has been written from the perspective of the Annales school, with its emphasis on the role of long-term economic and cultural factors in shaping the development of early modern France. In this detailed 1995 study, Henry Heller challenges such a paradigm and assembles a huge range of information about technical innovation and ideas of improvement in sixteenth-century France. Emphasising the role of state intervention in the economy, the development of science and technology, and recent research into early modern proto-industrialisation, Heller counters notions of a France mired in an archaic, determinist mentalité. Despite the tides of religious fanaticism and seigneurial reaction, the period of the religious wars saw a surprising degree of economic, technological and scientific innovation, making possible the consolidation of capitalism in French society during the reign of Henri IV.
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