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Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy

by James R. Farr

  • ISBN: 9780195089073
  • ISBN10: 0195089073

Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy

by James R. Farr

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 01/01/1995
  • ISBN: 9780195089073
  • ISBN10: 0195089073
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Description: Focusing on a historical time and place rich with implications for the interactions among law, religion, and sexual morality, Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy is an incisive analysis of the tension between the prescriptive and the practical aspects of law. As Catholic Reform penetrated and was institutionalized in Early Modern France, legal codes reached further than before into realms of moral behavior. James Farr reveals how Burgundy's dominant, elite legal community attempted to impose new laws and regulations to recover a social order they believed had been destroyed in the upheavals of the sixteenth century. Among their chief objectives was the imposition of patriarchy to be accomplished by the construction of a more rigorous gender hierarchy and a greater disciplining of sexual passions. As a series of moral codes governing the disposition of human bodies, the new order of morality established authority over the sexual behavior of priests, courting couples, victims of seduction or rape, and prostitutes, among others. In practice, however, the exigencies of criminal procedure transformed the written rules into a resource of strategic power, often used by judges and litigants to achieve ends quite different from those originally intended. Informed by recent theoretical insights from legal anthropology and French social theory, and making use of a variety of original sources, particularly the court records of moral crime, Authority and Sexuality in Early Modern Burgundy draws an important, systematic link between the histories of sexuality and criminality at a time when there was no clear distinction between sin and crime. It will be essential reading for scholars andstudents of French history, social history, legal history, and the history of sexuality.
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