project: The Cardinal's Lady series (retired)

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.


I wish I could find one like that.

 1). A general history of the time, not over 200 pages.
"Often, reading several fat encyclopedia articles on the period will do." Thank you, Wikipedia. As you can tell, this list is begun in the recent past, where I consider digging out volumes of my 1959 Americana too onerus compared to hitting the Web.

2.) An "everyday life" book of the period.
Hippolyte A.Taine; The Ancient Regime: The Origins of Contemporary France, v.1; 1875, trans. 1880 by John Durand (preface notes 1881); 0500-1795, is my best shot so far.

3.) General transportation:
Transport Through the Ages. You might also use A Book about Travelling, Past and Present (1877, London and Edinburgh, Nimmo) by Thomas Allan Croal. However, for the primitive coach of the period, I went to Stuart Piggot, Wagon, Chariot and Carriage; Symbol and Status in the History of Transport; 1992, Thames and Hudson Inc., NY. There's a lovely reconstructed one, in pale blue brocade, in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers (the one starring Michael York and Oliver Reed). The visuals in this movie are generally great for getting in the mood.

4.) General costume
Costumers Manifesto is a free online resource for this. It let me check past Boucher in detail. (Boucher, François 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment Harry N. Abrams, NY.) or you can get away from the English with The history of fashion in France, or, The dress of women from the Gallo-Roman period to the present time (1882: New York, Scribner and Welford) Challamel, Augustin,; Hoey, Frances Cashel,; Lillie, John.

5.) Specific transportation:
Riding: Podhajsky, Alois, trans. Melvin Powers; Complete Training of Horse and Rider in the Principles of Classical Horsemanship; 1965; Wilshire Book Co, N. Hollywood, CA. This is how a French gentleman rides, because all gentlemen are warriors, and this is martial arts for warhorses. The French were far more disciplined and knowledgable than the neck-or-nothing English riders.

6.) Etiquette, and I don't mean morals for maidens.
Castiglione's Book of the Courtier still applies as the etiquette book for all Europe until the later 1700s. (Earlier translation, free: The book of the courtier from the Italian of Count Baldassare Castiglione (1900: D. Nutt) or translated by Sir Thomas Hoby (1561), full text [At Oregon, Renascence Editions] if you want a more period version). We have some English books, which are probably not too far off in Edith Rickert, The Babees Book: Medieval Manners for the Young, Now First Done into Modern English from the Texts of Dr. F. J. Furnivall; 1923, Chatto & Windus, London. The texts range from 1430 to 1619. You can get this free online.

7.) Spectator entertainments, whether theatre or sports, a general overview.
Oscar G. Brockett; History of the Theatre; (Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1977) Good university-level text on staging conventions, acting forms, audience behavior, etc., which can be very different from today. Controllable stage lighting is so new!.

8.) Self-entertainments, like card games, lawn games, and children's games.
The dance manuals at LoC's American Memory give me one book for court dances in French. The next available one is 1698, which is way too late. As this is a treatise against dancing, it mainly gives me a list of those danced, and a mention of abuses. Traité contre les danses. Par Jean Boiseul; La Rochelle, Les heritiers de Hierosme Havltin, 1606. When you're setting in a non-Anglophonic country, sources in that language are invaluable. So is being able to read French!

9.) Food and dining, including what sort of public dining was available.
William Harlan Hale, and the editors of Horizon Magazine: The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages; 1968, American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., for now.

10.) Recipes for period food.
Not yet, except a few in Hale.

11.) Marriage and family.
Still looking.

12.) Specific dress styles, for your decade, including specialty costumes for clerics.
So specific, I use three books. Norah Waugh, The Cut of Women's Clothes, 1600-1900. (When you see the cost, you'll look for a copy at the library. In 1990 these were $10 a copy. The increase is piratical.) Very detailed, and for an historical tailor like myself, it tells me so much about movement restriction, even weight, as in how big an oof that much yardage is to carry. We are still talking head-on-a-platter stiff ruffs. Norah Waugh, The Cut of Men's Clothes, 1600-1900, . Ditto. Doublets still look very shaped and Renn, rather than Musketeers, which was real good to get my head out of the latter. Norah Waugh, Corsets and Crinolines. Those corset busks make it easy to carry secret papers and man-killer stilettos. The bum rolls will be good for smuggling folded maps, spare gold pieces, and stolen jewels. Luckily I have experience of the costume, distaff side, including the joys of moving in those corsets and bum rolls, and trying to keep stockings up with only the garters, no elastic involved.

13.) Religion for the time and place.
Modern Catholicism is extremely different from early modern Catholicism, but this I am having to reconstruct piecemeal. I got some help from John Frederick Schwaller, The Church and Clergy in Sixteenth-Century Mexico;1987; U of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, because that's 1500s Catholicism. Books on Richelieu and the time make it clear how close there came to being a Church of France, avoided only by concessions from Rome on some political and doctrinal matters.

14.) A fat history book of the area and century as an introduction.
Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization series: v. 7, The Age of Reason Begins (1961).

15.) A history of the most influential country at the time (country A).
The Hapsburg Empire, which includes Austria and Spain. Elliott, J. H.; Richelieu and Olivares; 1984; Cambridge U Press, Cambridge. This was the Age of the Great Ministers, when Great Britain, France, and Spain/Hapsburg Empire had more or less strong kings but for a while intensely powerful prime ministers: Buckingham, Richelieu, and Olivares. This is a wonderful camparison of the two big players in the game.

16.) A history of its rival (country B).
This would have to be France, fighting off an eternal pincer movement and trying to rally all other non-Hapsburg states. Victor-Lucien Tapié, France in the Age of Louis XIII and Richelieu, 1952, 1967; trans 1975, Praeger Publishers, Inc, NY.

17.) A biography of the leader of country A
Still looking.

18.) A biography of the leader of country B
A. Lloyd Moote; Louis XIII, the Just; 1989, University of California Press, Berkeley.

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 in, general.
C. V. (Cicely Veronica) Wedgwood; Richelieu and the French Monarchy; 1962, 1974 rev.; Collier Books, div. Macmillan, NY; 1600-1650

20.) A history of the country you are setting in, that era.
Frederick Schiller, trans. Rev. A. J. W. Morrison, MA; The History of the Thirty Years' War; 1846. Antonín Gindely , Andrew Ten Brook, History of the Thirty Years' War (1883: New York; G. P. Putnam's)

21.) A biography of the leader of the country of your setting.
Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Richelieu, The Political Testament of Cardinal Richelieu: The Significant Chapters and Supporting Selections, trans. 1961, U of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI. This was, you will notice, Richelieu himself advising Louis XIII one last time on the path of probable success.

22.) An everyday life for the commoner/lower classes of your time and place.
So far, I mainly have Taine's description of peasant misery (#2).

23.) An everyday life for the upper classes of your time and place.
Philippe Erlanger; The King's Minion: Richelieu, Louis XIII, and the Affair of Cinq-Mars; 1962; trans 1971; Librairie Académique Perrin; Elek Books. 1610-1643. Fascinating, in that Louis refused to commit adultery by actually having sex with any female favorite, but didn't count sleeping with other men. Considering that not that long before they had a reigning king of France who wore gowns to court, this was restrained. But, yes, eye-opening view of court life and what it meant to be playing the courtier games.

24.) An everyday life for the middle class of your time and place.
Not yet.

25.) An everyday life for women of your time and place
Femmes d'autrefois
(1900: Tours: A. Mame) by Amélie Chevalier, supposedly contains "Social life and customs 17th century; France"

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 like that.
Not yet.

27.) A book on houses and furnishings of the period, if possible.
Illustrated History of Furniture from the Earliest to the Present Time by Frederick Litchfield (1903; London: Truslove & Hanson Limited; New York:; illustrated by John Lane 1892-1903) will get you through a lot of the basics for free.

28.) A book about courting, romance, and sex of the time.
Not yet, unless you count The King's Minion.

29.) A book for naming historical characters properly.
Holly Ingraham, People's Names: A Cross-Cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40000personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures, 1997, McFarland.: I got a new chapter out of researching this, I admit.

30.) Medicine of the time and place.
A History of Medicine
, 1945 Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd;. London, Edinburgh, Paris, Melbourne, New York; it covers around 500 BC to 1940 CE.

31.) Climate, weather, and seasons.
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
by Brian M. Fagan (2001, Basic Books) This not only means frozen rivers in winter, it means cold wet summers and poor crops, which means famine looming. Taine (#2) does not sufficiently take into account, when he speaks of the peasant famines under the ancien regime, that not only was the government unhelpful, but the weather was rotten.



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

48) Warfare: 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
1494-1660, the period of the first great gunpowder sieges, when artillery was powerful enough to make a difference.

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.

Cucari, Attilio; Sailing Ships; 1976; Rand McNally; 1200-1920.

Gardiner, Robert, editor; Cogs, Caravels and Galleons; The Sailing Ship 1000-1650 ; 1994; Conway Maritime Press, London; 1000-1650.

Rodgers, William Ledyard, vice admiral, USN, ret.; Naval Warfare Under Oars, 4th to 16th Centuries. A Study of Strategy, Tactics and Ship Design; 1940, 1967; Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. In the Mediterranean, especially, galleys and galleasses were still in use, and Richelieu was in charge of the French Navy.

Phillips, Carla Rahn; Six Galleons for the King of Spain: Imperial Defense in the Early Seventeenth Century; Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD; 1986; Besides the info on galleons, carracks, shipbuilding, and sailing in general, the aftermatter includes a list of coinage, weights and measures in use in Spain at the time, mariner's wages, and "Nutritional Content of Spanish Shipboard Dietaries."

Like I said, plenty of books on ships. Yet my characters may never get off a pier, unless thrown into the harbour to drown.

If you need something else for your particular story around this time, maybe Historical Novelists Center can help with their Early Modern Europe pages.

copyright Holly Ingraham



 50 Books for:

The Peloponnese, 396 BC 

 Early Viking, c. 850

The First Crusade, Outre-Mer 1098 

 The Hundred Years War, France1352

Richelieuan France, 1630

Pirate Caribbean, 1670 

 Napoleonic London Highlife 1803

Regency London Highlife 1817

Mexico, 1846-8

 London Low-Life 1870

 Gilded Age New York 1898

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.

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