The Early Modern City, 1450-1750

TitleThe Early Modern City, 1450-1750
Publication TypeBook
AuthorsFriedrichs, CR
CityLondon and New York
9780582013209, 0582013216, 9780582013216, 0582013208
Cities and towns, History

Publisher's description: "This impressive survey of the early modern city from 1450 to 1750 launches the new History of Urban Society in Europe series in fine style. Christopher Friedrichs' uniquely comprehensive overview is the first attempt to cover the urban society of early modern Europe as a unified whole. He challenges the usual emphasis on regional and national diversity, stressing instead the extent to which cities all over Europe shared a common urban civilization whose major features remained remarkably constant across the three centuries of the early modern era. After a general introduction, the five chapters of Part One (The City in Context) outline in turn the physical, political, religious, economic and demographic parameters of urban life in early modern Europe. The four chapters of Part Two (The City as a Social Arena) then examine the full range of social groups in the early modern city, from the exalted milieu of merchants and patricians, through the solid core of householding families, to the desperate netherworld of paupers, criminals and prostitutes. In the three chapters of Part Three (The City in Calm and Crisis) Professor Friedrichs describes the everyday rhythms of activity in the early modern city - and goes on to show how pitifully vulnerable the carefully nurtured routines of urban life were to the ever-present threat of disaster from epidemic, fire, warfare and outbursts of conflict amongst the citizens themselves. A concluding chapter draws the lines of argument together, and a bibliography and guide to further reading complete the book. The Early Modern City is ambitious in its aims, wide-ranging in its scope, and vigorous in its execution. Drawing on material from dozens of communities in western, central and eastern Europe, it makes telling use of vivid local detail to show how differences in power, wealth, status and gender structured the ways in which the town-dwellers of early modern Europe engaged in the eternal struggle for a better life."