THE BOURGEOIS: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France by Bernard Groethuysen

THE BOURGEOIS: Catholicism vs. Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The conflict between the attitudes of the nouveau riche bourgeoisie and the attitudes of the Church is the concern of this beautifully composed essay on the rising self-confidence of the French middle classes in eighteenth-century France. Since the ideology of this group provided the impetus for the French and American revolutions, the book is also relevant to the intellectual history and political philosophy of representative democracy. The author interprets the religious thought of the day, the roles played by Jansenists and Jesuits, and the polemical struggles that matched the quietism of Fenelon against the brilliant stylist and moralist Bossuet. The middle classes tended, of course, to reject traditional faith, placing their trust in rationalism and the new sciences. Groethuysen sees their drive to abolish old restrictions in part as a desire to increase commercial opportunities, in part as an effort to express solidarity and differentiation from other classes. A fascinating study for a small, scholarly audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 1967
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston