Rereading Franco Venturi's Eighteenth century: Absolutist monarchy between reform and revolt

History of European Ideas 35 (1):11-23 (2009)

This article has two aims. The first is to outline Franco Venturi's ideas on absolutist monarchy and to highlight new analytical perspectives of his interest in the achievements of the reformist sovereigns. The second is to help shed light on his complex intellectual life. The article begins by underlining how Venturi's historical insights make it difficult to single out a unanimous understanding of absolutist monarchy, and then develops by reconstructing different notions of monarchy. These are: monarchy as a dynamic impetus capable of renewing society in the ancien régime, monarchy as a fundamental, albeit complex, collaboration between power and the intellectual, monarchy as the ground in which libertarian ferment matured, monarchy as a force that provoked revolts and rebellions. Focusing particularly on this last idea, the article suggests how Venturi's interest in the sovereigns’ actions grew in part from his sympathy for and appreciation of the rebellions to which their reformist policies gave rise. This particular perspective makes it possible to observe an ever-present streak of radicalism in Venturi's ideas
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DOI 10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2008.07.004
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Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment.Franco Venturi - 1970 - Cambridge University Press.
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