Synopses & Reviews
From the monastic cloisters in the time of Charlemagne to the book-lined studies of twentieth-century authors, this splendid book presents an overview of the literary and artistic world in France. The Bibliotheque nationale de France, today rich in collections of illuminated manuscripts, books, medals, maps, and prints, had its beginnings when Charles V established his library in the Falconry Tower of the Louvre. During the Middle Ages, culture was the handmaiden of church and government; during the absolute monarchy, it became an instrument of propaganda; in the eighteenth century, it developed an independent voice. This book explores the changing relationship between power and culture in France as seen in the history of its national library.