Authors & Events
Authors & Events
Mar 12, 2013
| ISBN 9781781680100
Mar 12, 2013
| ISBN 9781781680544
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Mar 12, 2013 | ISBN 9781781680100
Mar 12, 2013 | ISBN 9781781680544
Forty years after its original publication, Lineages of the Absolutist State remains an exemplary achievement in comparative history. Picking up from where its companion volume, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, left off, Lineages traces the development of Absolutist states in the early modern period from their roots in European feudalism, and assesses their various trajectories. Why didn’t Italy develop into an Absolutist state in the same, indigenous way as the other dominant Western countries, namely Spain, France and England? On the other hand, how did Eastern European countries develop into Absolutist states similar to those of the West, when their social conditions diverged so drastically? Reflecting on examples in Islamic and East Asian history, as well as the Ottoman Empire, Anderson concludes by elucidating the particular role of European development within universal history.
The political nature of Absolutism has long been a subject of controversy within historical materialism. Developing considerations advanced in Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, this book situates the Absolutist states of the early modern epoch against the prior background of European feudalism. It is divided into two parts. The first discusses the overall structures of Absolutism as a state-system in Western Europe, from the Renaissance onwards. It then looks in turn at the trajectory of each of the specific Absolutist states in the dominant countries of the West—Spain, France, England and Sweden, set off against the case of Italy, where no major indigenous Absolutism developed. The second part of the work sketches a comparative prospect of Absolutism in Eastern Europe. The peculiarities, as well as affinities, of Eastern Absolutism as a distinct type of royal state, are examined. The variegated monarchies of Prussia, Austria and Russia are surveyed, and the lessons asked of the counter-example of Poland. Finally, the structureof the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans is taken as an external gauge by which the singularity of Absolutism as a European phenomenon is assessed. The work ends with some observations on the special position occupied by European development within universal history, which draws themes from both Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism andLineages of the Absolutist State together into a single argument—within their common limits—as materials for debate.
Perry Anderson is the author of, among other books, Spectrum, Lineages of the Absolutist State, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, Considerations on Western Marxism, English Questions, The Origins of Postmodernity, and The New Old World. He teaches history at UCLA… More about Perry Anderson
“A dazzlingly provocative narrative of the two millenia between Pericles and Louis XIV.”—Sunday Times“What an intellectual pleasure it has been to read these texts. Anderson has a real ability for illuminating and succinct generalization.”—Times Higher Educational Supplement“The breathtaking range of conception and the architectural skill with which it has been executed make his work a formidable intellectual achievement.”—New York Review of Books
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