Absolutism from Below? The Remarkable History of One Book
Listed in catalogues of aristocratic, burgher and parish libraries, translated into German by Martin Opitz and into English by Ben Jonson, quoted by Cardinal Richelieu and Thomas Hobbes, the Latin novel Argenis by John Barclay ranked among bestselling books in 17th–18th century Europe. Though officially marketed as a romance, the text bore a significant political message and became more than passing entertainment. While referring to the history of the book, the paper contributes to the ongoing debate on how early modern political ideas were spread and made known to a wider public.
Jaroslav Miller (1971) is Associate Professor of History at Palacký University (Olomouc, Czech Republic). He studied history, philology and literature in Olomouc and Budapest. Under the guidance of István Gy. Tóth he accomplished his PhD in Comparative History at CEU (2004). He has published widely on urban and cultural history of early modern Europe. In 2008 his monograph Urban Societies in East-Central Europe, 1500–1700 was published by Ashgate and obtained „The Best Urban History Monograph Award.“ Jaroslav Miller lectured and pursued his research in the UK (Oxford), Germany (Marburg, Münster, Wolfenbüttel, Leipzig), Canada (Toronto) and the USA (Yale University, University of Georgia). In 2006 he was a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany). In the academic year 2010/2011 he has been appointed a guest professor of history at the University of Western Australia, Perth.
The lecture will be preceded by the launch of Jaroslav Miller and László Kontler (eds.), Friars, Nobles and Burghers – Sermons, Images and Prints. Studies of Culture and Society in Early-Modern Europe In Memoriam István György Tóth (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010)