Search magnifier
Request a 2018 prospectus

Dr Mark Bryant

Senior Lecturer in Early Modern European History

M.Bryant@chi.ac.uk | 01243 816214

Background:

I did my undergraduate B.A. (Hons) degree at Royal Holloway, and then stayed at the University of London to complete my Ph.D., supervised by Dr Roger Mettam, at Queen Mary that was underpinned by research conducted in the Parisian and Versailles archives. My work focuses on early modern France and in particular the later reign of Louis XIV, 1680-1715. 

Publications

Monographs:

  • Queen of Versailles and First Lady of Louis XIV’s France: Madame de Maintenon, 1635-1715 (McGill Queen’s Press: Forthcoming 2018/19). 
  • The Hydra of Heresy: Religio-Political Crises in Louis XIV’s France, 1685-1715 (Boydell & Brewer: work in progress)

Chapters & Articles:

  • “Romancing the Throne: Mme de Maintenon’s Journey from Secret Royal Governess to Louis XIV’s Clandestine Consort, 1652–84”, in The Court Historian (December, 2017)
  • “The Catholic Church and Its Dissenters, 1685-1715”, chap. 9 in G. Rowlands and J. Prest eds., The Third Reign of Louis XIV, c. 1682-1715 (Ashgate, 2017), pp. 145-61.
  • “Partner, Matriarch & Minister - The Unofficial Consort: Mme de Maintenon, 1680-1715”, in C.C. Orr ed., Queenship in Europe, 1660-1815: The Role of the Consort (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Reviews:

  • Tony Claydon and Charles-Édouard Levillain, eds. Louis Outside In: Images of the Sun King Beyond France, 1661-1715 (Ashgate, 2015), ‘H-France’ Review, Vol. 17 (July 2017), no. 99 at: http://www.h-  france.net/vol17reviews/vol17no99Bryant.pdf
  • Sonja Kmec, Across the Channel: A Study of the Lives of Marie de La Tour - Queen of the Huguenots – and Charlotte de La Trémoïlle, Countess of Derby (Kliomedia, 2010) in the English Historical Review (August 2012)
  • Tim Mc Hugh, Hospital Politics in Seventeenth-Century France: The Crown, Urban Elites and the Poor, by Tim McHugh (Ashgate, 2007) in the English Historical Review (June, 2010)
  • Hans Blom, John Christian Laursen & Luisa Simonutti eds., Monarchisms in the Age of Enlightenment: Liberty, Patriotism and the Common Good (Toronto, 2007) in the English Historical Review (April, 2009)
  • Walter C. Utt and Brian E. Strayer, The Bellicose Dove: Claude Brousson and Protestant Resistance to Louis XIV, 1647-98 (Sussex Academic Press, 2003) in French History (December, 2007)
  • E. Corp, A Court in Exile: The Stuarts in France, 1689-1718 (Cambridge University Press, 2006), in ‘H-France’ Review, Vol. 9 (January 2009), No. 7 at: http://www.h-france.net/vol9reviews/vol9no7bryant.pdf

Recent Conferences Organized & Papers (2007-)

  • “Notes on a Scandal: Jansensism & the Unigenitus Crisis, 1709-15” paper delivered at the Society for French Historical Studies meeting in Washington (April, 2017)
  • Co-organized the Society for the Study of French History annual conference held at Chichester  & delivered a paper: “The Quietist & Jansenist Crises in Louis XIV’s France, 1687-1715” (June, 2016)
  • “Vanity or Insanity? Why did Louis XIV Revoke the Edict of Nantes in 1685?” paper delivered at the Western Society for the Study of French History Meeting in Chicago (November, 2015)
  • “Apocalypse Nigh? The Aftermath of Oudenarde & Military Imbroglio of 1708” paper delivered at the Society for French Historical Studies meeting in Montreal (April, 2014) & expanded & delivered at the Institute of Historical Research to the ‘Europe, 1500-1800’ Seminar (April, 2015)
  • “Romancing the Throne: Mme de Maintenon’s Journey from Secret Royal Governess to the Sun King’s Clandestine Consort, 1669-84” paper delivered at the Society for French Historical Studies meeting in Boston (April, 2013) & expanded & delivered to The Society for Court Studies (December, 2015)
  • “An Appetite for Destruction? Mme de Maintenon, Louis XIV and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 1677-97” paper delivered at the Society for French Historical Studies meeting in Boston (LA, 2012)
  • “Contacts & Sponsors, Protégés & Parasites: Mme de Maintenon’s Clientage-Patronage Network, 1652-1715” paper delivered at ‘The Andrew Lossky Memorial Panel’ I organized at Western Society for the Study of French History annual conference (October, 2009): ‘The Mechanics of Power Networks in Early Modern France’ with Professors Sharon Kettering, Greg Monahan & Professor Sara Chapman (USA: University of Colorado, October 2009)
  • “The Personal Misrule of Louis XIV, 1691-1715?” paper delivered at an international conference I organized with Dr Tim McHugh entitled The Dynamics of Power in Early Modern France: Collaboration, Coercion, Conflict sponsored by the ‘Society for the Study of French History’ & the Institute of Historical Research (Institute of Historical Research, London, July 2009)

 

“The Private Life of Louis XIV” seminar paper as part of Round Table Discussion in Honour of Dr Roger Mettam at the Institute of Historical Research, London, with Professor Jim Collins (Georgetown): “Reappraising Absolutism”; & Professor Stuart Carroll (York): “The Nobility & the State in C17th France” (May, 2009)

 

“The Phantom Menace? Louis XIV, Mme de Maintenon, the Cardinal de Noailles & the Jansenist Crisis, 1698-1715” paper delivered to the Western Society for the Study of French History annual conference (Québec, 2008)

 

“Spiritual & Political Torrents? The Quietist Controversy, 1689-99” seminar paper delivered at the Institute of Historical Research to the ‘Europe, 1500-1800’ Seminar (April, 2007)

Research

Louis XIV is traditionally credited with having transformed France into a centralized proto-modern state, but now this period is being reconceptualized as historians dissect the second half of the Sun King’s ‘personal rule’. Hitherto this period of defeat and disaster, 1685-1715, had been neglected by specialists and overlooked by revisionists, but it in fact provided the supreme test of Louis XIV’s government. Envied across the globe during the successful initial phases when Versailles was constructed and glorious wars prosecuted, France was then supremely tested yet somehow managed to survive a series of seemingly insurmountable political, military, subsistence, financial, religious, succession and constitutional crises and flourished after Louis’ demise.

My research investigates these events and the individuals involved better to understand the dynamics of power in early modern France and the seemingly durable system of government that Louis XIV created - what Jim Collins has intriguingly dubbed “the functionary state”.  I have just finished a monograph assessing the powerful influence exerted by Louis’ secret wife and confidante, Mme de Maintenon, 1669-1715. And I have started another on The Hydra of Heresy in Louis XIV’s France, 1685-1715 examining the religious crises that bedeviled the crown in the latter part of the reign that were often generated by Louis’ myopic policies and exacerbated by blunt and simplistic solutions that ultimately undermined the King’s supposedly ‘absolute’ authority. I am also writing and publishing articles and chapters investigating Protestant persecution in the 1680s and 90s; exploring the relationship between the King and Mme de Maintenon and their secret marriage in light of changing social mores, attitudes to marriage and gender relations; the aftermath of the devastating defeat at Oudenarde & military imbroglio of 1708; relations between the Franco-Spanish Bourbon courts, 1700-15; the power of public opinion, 1685-1715; and the ‘decline’ of Versailles.