This is the reign of Louis XIII, the king who fought off the Habsburg Empire in the Thirty Years' War and created modern France out of a feudal conglomerate. Finding stuff on this period is murder, because it's the next king, Louis XIV, who hogs all the space as the Sun King, now as then. Quatorze had a tremendously long reign, as well, so that sometimes it seems historians (or at least common histories) jump straight from St. Louis to Quatorze, barely glancing at the Henris and Françoises and the rest between.
However, Dumas père did not set his d'Artagnan stories here idly: it's a very lively time, and I was hoping for a series setting. I think this list shows the difficulties of pulling together research on non-English-speaking regions in English-language sources. I have not filled out the list, which is one reason why this series is on the back burner. I have definite gaps in my knowledge until I can cover some bases. (Okay, sometimes I cheat. French is my second language, when I refresh it: very fortunate.)
One point to remember is that some authorities consider this late medieval (those who don't believe in the Renaissance, except as an art designation largely applying to Italy) and others high or late Renaissance. So while I might consider it Early Modern, I have to look under other designations for the actual information.
Now, of course, I could pad this full of general multi-era costume books, or with books on ships and boats, but that's not the point of this sort of list. That's why I have those first 31 full of reminders to get breadth of subjects, not just numbers. I can't consider my research decent until I have something for almost all of them.
Dec. 2014: I am adding this to the site, not because the project is due out, but because I am retiring the idea. I did a realistic appraisal of my available writing time, and I think the first book made the schedule around 2045. If you are working in this area, the best of luck to you, and if you find something good, drop us a line.
1). A general history of the time,
not over 200 pages.
2.) An "everyday life" book of
3.) General transportation:
4.) General costume
5.) Specific transportation:
6.) Etiquette, and I don't mean morals
7.) Spectator entertainments, whether theatre
or sports, a general overview.
8.) Self-entertainments, like card games,
lawn games, and children's games.
9.) Food and dining, including what sort
of public dining was available.
10.) Recipes for period food.
11.) Marriage and family.
12.) Specific dress styles, for your decade,
including specialty costumes for clerics.
13.) Religion for the time and place.
14.) A fat history book of the area and
century as an introduction.
15.) A history of the most influential
country at the time (country A).
16.) A history of its rival (country B).
17.) A biography of the leader of country
18.) A biography of the leader of country
As elsewhere, since I'm in country B, I can use the next three slots for other purposes, to expand my understanding of the government.
19.) A history of the country you are setting
20.) A history of the country you are setting
in, that era.
21.) A biography of the leader of the country
of your setting.
22.) An everyday life for the commoner/lower
classes of your time and place.
23.) An everyday life for the upper classes
of your time and place.
24.) An everyday life for the middle class
of your time and place.
25.) An everyday life for women of your
time and place
This area is difficult, because Quatorze looms so large that any Everyday Life book will be about his long reign rather than the preceding monarch. Fortunately, they do love His Scarlet Eminence. But you can see how this creates major gaps.
26.) An auto/biography of someone like
your protagonist, or a book as much as possible focused on people
27.) A book on houses and furnishings of
the period, if possible.
28.) A book about courting, romance, and
sex of the time.
29.) A book for naming historical characters
30.) Medicine of the time and place.
31.) Climate, weather, and seasons.
Still looking. The Perry-Casteñada Collection has yielded a few. Trout (#34) had at least a Louis XIV map of Paris. However, his book did warn me that there were massive changes in the coming century, let alone those of the 1800s, so that later maps of Paris are no help.
HNC has some latter 1600s city maps, and these are often the earliest that can be found, so there would be a certain degree of fudge in making use of them.
32) Heraldry: For free, try Heraldry, Ancient and Modern: Including Boutell's Heraldry, by Charles Boutell & S. T. Aveling (1890: London ; New York : F. Warne)
33) Richelieu's private life: J. C. Suares, Great Cats: The Who's Who of Famous Felines; 1981, Bantam Books, NY. This happy find was my only source on Richelieu's love of cats and details on certain of his favorites.
34) Paris at the time: Andrew Trout, City on the Seine: Paris in the Time of Richelieu and Louis XIV, 1614-1715, 1996, St. Martin's Press, NY. Paris, 1614-1715. Almost all the maps are Quatorze, and badly chopped up (really poor layout, for which blame the art department at St. Martin's). This is not what I hoped, which was some big maps from 1614 and from 1715. However, the huge amount of text does give an invaluable view of the city's government in the early 1600s, which is nothing like London.
35) History & Literature: J. M. Stone; Studies from Court and Cloister Being Essays, Historical and Literary, Dealing Mainly with Subjects Relating to the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries; 1908; London.
36) General Life: LaCroix, Arts in the Middle Ages, and at the Period of the Renaissance, because LaCroix considers Louis XIII a Renaissance monarch.
37) Female employments: Elsie Davenport, Your Handspinning , 1953, 1964, Select Books, Mountain View, MO. Because even ladies spin flax, and this shows how to dress the strick on the spindle.
38) Leaders at Court: Christopher Hibbert; The Rise & Fall of the House of Medici; 1974; Penguin Books; 1400-1753. The Queen Mother is Catherine de Medici. She is usually up to her ringlets in plotting against Richelieu and the King in favor of her younger son, Gaston.
39) Martial Arts: Alfred Hutton; Old Sword-Play: The Systems of Fence in Vogue During the XVIth, XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries, with Lessons Arranged from the Works of Various Ancient Masters; 1892; H. Grevel & Co., London & B. Westermann & Co., NY; Dover 2001; 1536-1765.
40) Martial Arts: John Clements; Renaissance Swordsmanship: The Illustrated Use of Rapiers and Cut-and-Thrust Swords; 1997; Paladin Press, Boulder CO.
41) Martial Arts: G. Hale, Gentleman; The Private Schoole of Defence. Or, The Defects of Publique Teachers, Exactly Discovered, by Way of Objection and Resolution. Together with the True Practise of the Science, Set Downe in Judicious Rules and Observations; in a Method Never before Expressed.; 1614; London: Printed for John Helme, and are to be found At his Shop in S. Dunstames' Church-yard in Fleet Street. English. My period books include Vincente Salviolo (his spelling literally gives me headaches), both books by Silver, and several French ones of the time. Fencing was just being really developed at the time, and in Salviolo the lunge does not yet appear.
The reason for three books on the subject is to compare the two reconstructions and the period book, and see who may be cock-eyed. Duelling and rencounters were a constant in upper-class life. The King passed laws against duelling, because he felt his nobles and gentlemen were wasting their lives killing each other instead of saving their deaths for their country in war. This drove it underground, and even in the last days of the monarchy, French nobles were willing to duel at the drop of a glove. So those rapiers on men's hips may flash quite a bit, as will the mains gauche.
42) Espionage: Richard Deacon; The French Secret Service; 1990; Grafton Books, Collins Publishing Group, London. Richelieu had a well-developed espionage system, the first since Elizabeth I of England, including the services of the great cryptographer, Rossignol. So I also reviewed Laffin, John; Codes and Ciphers: Secret Writing Through the Ages; 1964; Abelard-Schuman, NY.
43) Magic, Science, and Alchemy: Albertus Magnus; Albertus Magnus. Being the Approved, Verified, Sympathetic and Natural Egyptian Secrets or White and Black Art for Man and Beast. Revealing the Forbidden Knowledge and Mysteries of Ancient Philosophers. The recipes in this book seem to date from about this time, by internal evidence. So this contains a recipe for gilding, waterproofing boots, and what to write on a wooden plate to throw into a house fire to snuff it out, besides a hundred charms against erysipelas. People will be doing these things, no matter what we think of their efficacy. Good luck on finding your own copy. I can find no sign it ever existed, except that I have a copy.
44) Murder: Serita Deborah Stevens, with Anne Klarner; Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons; 1990; Writer's Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH. Because this is considered a popular weapon. Unfortunately, 90% of what's here is modern pharmeceuticals, industrial chemicals, and exotic animals.
45) Folk Customs: Sir James GeorgeFrazer; The New Golden Bough; 1959; Doubleday, Garden City, NY. In some parts of France it could get very pagan still.
46) Period Murder: Andrew Lang; The Valet's Tragedy and Other Studies; 1902 ante. Most of these are late Renn, even 1600s, so they give me an idea of what sort of secret violence may go on.
47) Period Murder: Also Alexander Dumas, père; Celebrated Crimes; 1895
Both the King and the cardinal oversaw sieges. Christopher Duffy
gives us both Fire and Stone: The Science of Fortress Warfare,
1660-1860 (Hippocrene Books, NY, 1975; now from Greenhill)
and Siege Warfare (Barnes & Noble) covering
49) Court: Charles Kingsley; Ancien Régime; 1867.
50) Autobiographies Bracketing the Period: Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre; Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Written by Herself, Being Historic Memoirs of the Courts of France and Navarre; 1628. This is just the reign before, and tells me what a court life is like. Crazy, compared to later periods! I know the publication date looks right, but this is long after Henri of Navarre virtually divorced her so he could make a better political alliance as new King of France. An old spouse may be cast off in various ways if you can find a wiggle through canon law. Jean Francois Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz (1614-1679) The Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz; Written by Himself, Being Historic Court Memoirs of the Great Events during the Minority of Louis XIV. and the Administration of Cardinal Mazarin.; France during the Fronde, which is Louis XIV & Mazarin; 1640-1680, but many of the major players he portrays were up-and-coming in my period.
|If you need something else for your particular story around this time, maybe Historical Novelists Center can help with their Early Modern Europe pages.|
Check the Near History sample guides. There's more to read, but mostly lighter stuff, as well as lots more in video. A few appropriate movies from a year are much easier to get through than a detail biography of a president and will tell you more about ordinary life.