Nobility and patrimony in modern France

By Elizabeth Chalmers MacKnight

Nobility and patrimony in modern France


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2051-9
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: March 2018
  • BIC Category: France, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Humanities / European history, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, HISTORY / General, HISTORY / Europe / France, HISTORY / Military / World War I, European history: medieval period, middle ages, History, Modern History
  • Series: Studies in Modern French and Francophone History


This study of tangible and intangible cultural heritage explains the significance of nobles' conservationist traditions for public engagement with the history of France. During the French Revolution nobles' property was seized, destroyed, or sold off by the nation. State intervention during the nineteenth century meant historic monuments became protected under law in the public interest. The Journées du Patrimoine, created in 1984 by the French Ministry for Culture, became a Europe-wide calendar event in 1991. Each year millions of French and international visitors enter residences and museums to admire France's aristocratic cultural heritage. Drawing on archival evidence from across the country, the book presents a compelling account of power, interest and emotion in family dynamics and nobles' relations with rural and urban communities.


'Macknight performs a valuable service by explaining many of the arcane details surrounding the transmission of property. More importantly, she gives a fuller picture of which kinds of sources for studying the French nobility in modern times have survived.'
Steven Kale, Washington State University, H-France Review, Vol. 19

'This is an exciting and ambitious work, which necessarily rushes over some topics to cover so much ground, but which has thrown up a wealth of stimulating observations and archival leads for future scholars to explore (and which are helpfully identified in the bibliography). Macknight's study complements the growing stream of revisionist work on the nobilities of modern Europe. '
Tom Stammers, Durham University, European History Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 1

'The book is a valuable addition to existing literature and shines a light on a lesser-studied segment of noble life. Wonderfully selected case studies, presented in a lively narrative, make the reader empathize with the general mood of swimming against the tide.'


1 Protecting property during revolution
2 Divisions of inheritance
3 Adoption for transmission
4 Incapacity and debt
5 Landed estates in operation
6 Residences and gardens
7 Holding the fort in the world wars
8 Initiatives for preservation and tourism


Elizabeth C. Macknight is Senior Lecturer in European History at the University of Aberdeen

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