The Frankish Empire
Joan of Arc: Her Story by Regine Pernoud and Marie-Veronique Clin, translated by Jeremy Duquesnay Adams. Biography of the peasant girl who led an army against the English and placed Charles VII on the French throne. The authors make extensive use of contemporary documents that bring to life the turbulent political scene in which Joan operated as well as her forceful personality. (Review © Amazon.com)
Joan of Arc: The Warrior Saint by Stephen W. Richey. Drawing on eyewitness accounts, this book analyzes Joan's military career.
Joan of Arc by Mary Gordon. A brief biography.
Joan of Arc: In Her Own Words translated by Willard R. Trask. An autobiography compiled from transcripts of Joan's trials.
The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc by Nancy Goldstone. The untold story of one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages, Yolande of Aragon, queen of Sicily, who championed Joan of Arc.
The King's Women by Deryn Lake. This novel tells the story of King Charles VII of France and the women who inspired and loved him.
The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc by Kimberly Cutter. About the 15th century French peasant girl who led an army, crowned a king, and became a legend.
Joan of Arc by Mark Twain. Great American author Twain spent 12 years researching this novel, and considered it his best work.
Beyond the Myth: The Story of Joan of Arc by Polly Schoyer Brooks. A biography for young adult readers.
Louis XI: The Universal Spider by Paul Murray Kendall. The author of this biography says Louis XI, who lived in the 15th century, has been maligned and does not deserve his reputation as the "spider king." Out of print, but available at Alibris.
The Spider King by Lawrence Schoonover. Novel about 15th century French king Louis XI, first published in 1954. Hated by his father, young Louis is a resolute dreamer who sees the nation's way to greatness.
The Bourbons: The History of a Dynasty by J. H. Shennan. Henry IV, king of Gascony, became king of France after the murder of the last Valois in 1589. The French Revolution of 1789 brought about the fall of the Bourbon monarchy, but they returned to power for 15 years after 1815.
Martyrs & Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe by Stuart Carroll. Tells the story of three generations of one of the richest and most powerful families in 16th-century France. They overthrew the king, ruled Scotland for nearly 20 years through Mary Queen of Scots, plotted to overthrow Elizabeth I, and ended as martyrs for the Catholic cause.
Godfather of the Revolution: The Life of Philippe Egalité, Duc d'Orleans by Tom Ambrose. Biography of the royal family member who funded the French Revolution and had a long-running feud with Marie Antoinette. His son Louis-Philippe became the last king of France.
Perilous Performances: Gender and Regency in Early Modern France by Katherine Crawford. About three women who reigned for child kings: Catherine de Medicis, Marie de Medicis, and Anne of Austria.
Vienna and Versailles: The Courts of Europe's Dynastic Rivals, 1550-1780 by Jeroen Duindam. Recreates the lives of courtiers and servants of the imperial court in Vienna and the royal court in Paris-Versailles from the 16th to the 18th century.
Rulership in France, 15th-17th Centuries by Ralph E. Giesey. Essays about how the image of the king was enhanced in royal ceremonies and political writings, and how the stability of the monarchy was maintained by a new form of hereditary nobility.
The Society of Princes: The Lorraine-Guise and the Conservation of Power and Wealth in Seventeenth-Century France by Jonathan Spangler. An examination of relations between the crown and French nobility in the era of absolutism.
The Jesuits and the Monarchy: Catholic Reform and Political Authority in France, 1590-1615 by Eric Nelson. Looks at how the Jesuits became an influential feature of the French church, and their relationship with the monarchy.
The Royal Financial Administration and the Prosecution of Crime in France, 1670-1789 by Albert N. Hamscher. The French monarchy's role in financing criminal prosecutions from the early period of Louis XIV's personal rule to the outbreak of the French Revolution.
To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin. Fiction. A young woman enters the 16th century court of French king Francis I to spy for England's King Henry VIII.
Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France edited by Martha Wolff. This catalogue provides an overview of French art circa 1500, bringing to life court artists whose creations were used by kings and queens to assert power and prestige.
Royal Treasures From the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette by Marc Bascou, Michèle Bimbenet-Privat, and Martin Chapman. About French royal patronage and collecting, with full-color illustrations of more than 100 objects alongside essays describing their history and background.
Dairy Queens: The Politics of Pastoral Architecture From Catherine de' Medici to Marie-Antoinette by Meredith Martin. The pleasure dairies of early modern France -- most famously the white marble dairy built for Marie-Antoinette at Versailles -- allowed queens and noblewomen to display their cultivated tastes and proclaim their virtue as mothers and estate managers. Illustrated with images and photographs.
Royal Censorship of Books in Eighteenth-Century France by Raymond Birn. How censors served as cultural intermediaries who expanded public awareness of progressive thought.
The Power and Patronage of Marguerite De Navarre by Barbara Stephenson. Marguerite of Navarre was the sister of French king Francis I and the wife of Henry II of Navarre. This is a study of Marguerite's political life.
The Pleasure of Discernment: Marguerite de Navarre as Theologian by Carol Thysell. Margaret of Navarre was a writer and the patron of Rabelais and other literary figures.
The Heptameron by Marguerite De Navarre. Believed to be the work of Margaret of Navarre, this book is located in the tradition of the Decameron: a collection of bawdy, romantic, and spiritual stories that offer a surprisingly immediate picture of life in sophisticated 16th century France.
The Humor of Marguerite De Navarre in the Heptameron: A Feminist Author Before Her Time by John Parkin. Marguerite's satiric short-story collection, the Heptameron, used stock medieval comic patterns.
King's Sister: Queen of Dissent by A. Reid. About French royal Marguerite of Navarre (1492-1549) and her evangelical network.
The Serpent and the Moon: Two Rivals for the Love of a Renaissance King by Princess Michael of Kent. About French king Henri II. The author is the wife of Britain's Prince Michael of Kent.
Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda. Poisoner, despot, necromancer: the stain on the name of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. This critically hailed biography reveals the unjustly maligned queen as a skilled ruler battling against extraordinary odds.
Madame Serpent by Jean Plaidy. First published in 1951, this novel tells the story of young Catherine de' Medici. After reluctantly marrying the second son of the King of France, she becomes consumed by a ruthless ambition. Followed by two sequels, The Italian Woman and Queen Jezebel.
Courtesan: A Novel by Diane Haeger. At King François I's bawdy court, widow Diane de Poitiers becomes involved in one of the most legendary romances in French history.
The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici by Jeanne Kalogridis. Married to a handsome prince of France but overshadowed by his mistress, Catherine resorts to sorcery to win her husband's love and keep her sons on the throne.
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner. To some she was the ruthless queen who led France into savage violence. To others she was the savior of the monarchy. This novel brings Catherine to life in her own voice as her determination to protect her family's throne plunges her into a lethal struggle for power.
About Catherine De Medici by Honore De Balzac. Fiction by a great 19th century novelist.
Children's Books About Catherine De Medici
Catherine de' Medici: "The Black Queen" by Janie Havemeyer, illustrations by Peter Malone. Anxious to secure the power of her family, 15th century French queen Catherine became the target of rumors about poisoning and dabbling in dark arts. From the Thinking Girl's Treasury of Dastardly Dames series for ages 9 and up.
Catherine De Medici: The Power Behind the French Throne by Barbara A. Somervill. Biography for children ages 9 to 12.
Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de' Medici by Carolyn Meyer. Fiction for young adult readers. Engaged to a boy who is cold and aloof, young Catherine needs all the cunning she can muster to become one of France's most powerful queens.
Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age by Vincent J. Pitts. An unwelcome heir to the throne, Henri ruled a kingdom plagued by instability. Before his assassination in 1610 he pacified his warring country and reclaimed France's power in Europe.
Blood and Religion: The Conscience of Henri IV, 1553-1593 by Ronald S. Love. Examines the king's strong religious beliefs and the profound effect they had on him.
Henry IV and the Towns: The Pursuit of Legitimacy in French Urban Society, 1589-1610 by S. Annette Finley-Croswhite. By reopening the lines of communication between the crown and the towns, Henry IV strengthened the French monarchy.
Henry of Navarre: The King Who Dared by Hesketh Pearson. A 1963 biography of the king who united France after the hideous blood-letting of the religious wars. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
The First Bourbon: Henry IV, King of France and Navarre by Desmond Seward. Biography. Out of print, but sometimes available from Alibris.
Queen Jeanne and the Promised Land by David Bryson. Jeanne d'Albret, queen of Navarre, was the mother of King Henry IV.
The Reluctant Queen by Freda Lightfoot. Fiction. In 16th century France, Gabrielle d'Esrées catches the heart of King Henry IV. He promises to marry her, but Gabrielle's difficulties have just begun...
The Queen and the Courtesan by Freda Lightfoot. Henriette d'Entragues isn't satisfied with simply being the mistress of Henry IV of France; she wants a crown too.
Young Henry of Navarre by Heinrich Mann. Classic German literary novel about French king Henry IV.
Henry, King of France by Heinrich Mann. This sequel to Young Henry of Navarre continues the life story of French king Henry IV.
Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois by Margeurite de Valois. Born in 1553, Margaret of Valois (also known as Queen Margot) was the daughter of French king Henry II. She married King Henry IV but became estranged from him and led her own scandalous personal life.
Hostage Queen by Freda Lightfoot. Novel about 15th century French queen Marguerite de Valois, who was held hostage by her own family.
La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas. Novel about Margaret of Valois. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Queen Margot: The Age of Innocence by Derenne. A graphic novel (comic book) set in 16th century France.
Queen Margot: The Bloody Wedding by Derenne. Graphic novel about the 16th century queen of France and Navarre.
(Scroll down to the Video section for a movie about Queen Margot.)
The Figure of Louis XIII in Modern French Literature: From The Three Musketeers to the Fortune De France by Michael G. Paulson and Tamara Alvarez-Detrell. A history of divergent literary portrayals of the French king.
Louis XV: 1724-1757 by Jules Michelet. Biography of the French king.
Louis the Beloved: The Life of Louis XV by Olivier Bernier. Biography.
Madame de Pompadour by Evelyne Lever, translated by Catherine Temerson. Despite her bourgeois origins, Madame de Pompadour became the most influential mistress of Louis XV. This biography traces the friendship between the king and his favorite, and the far-reaching implications -- both personal and political -- of their relationship.
Madame de Pompadour: Mistress of France by Christine Pevitt Algrant. Biography of the self-made woman who rose from anonymity to become King Louis XV's mistress and ultimately an indispensable, albeit officially unacknowledged, head of state.
Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford. A classic biography.
Madame du Barry: The Wages of Beauty by Joan Haslip. Biography. Born the illegitimate daughter of a monk and a seamstress, Madame du Barry rose from poverty to become King Louis XV's official mistress.
Memoirs of the Comtesse du Barry by Baron Etienne Lamothe-Langon. Madame du Barry was a mistress of Louis XV. This is a fictional account of her life.
King's Ransom: The Life of Charles Thèveneau De Morande, Blackmailer, Scandalmonger & Master-Spy by Simon Burrows. Biography of a man who successfully blackmailed Louis XV and his mistress Madame Du Barry, then became France's leading political spy in London.
If the King Only Knew: Seditious Speech in the Reign of Louis XV by Lisa Jane Graham examines the attitudes of 18th century French citizens toward the monarchy.
Philippe, Duc D'Orleans: Regent of France by Christine Pevitt. Biography of the rake who served as regent during the childhood of King Louis XV. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Paris Between Empires: Monarchy and Revolution 1814-1852 by Philip Mansel. Tells the story of the golden age between the defeat of Napoleon I to the proclamation of his nephew as Emperor Napoleon III. During this time, three kings reigned: Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe.
The Constitutional Monarchy in France, 1814-1848: Revolution and Stability by Pamela Pilbeam. This is the first compact recent history of the period in English. It contains extracts from diaries, memoirs, novels, and cartoons.
France and 1848: The End of Monarchy by William Fortescue. Examines the revolution of 1848, offering new interpretations of events leading up to Louis Philippe's overthrow.
The Rebellious Duchess: The Adventures of the Duchess of Berri and Her Attempt to Overthrow French Monarchy by Paul F. S. Dermoncourt. Princess Marie Caroline of Naples and Sicily married the Duke of Berry, nephew of King Louis XVIII, shortly after the second restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. She fled the country in 1830 during the July Revolution, but returned to France to lead an uprising which soon turned sour.
Making Sense of Constitutional Monarchism in Post-Napoleonic France and Germany by Markus J. Prutsch. Highlights the daring attempt to improve traditional forms of monarchical legitimacy by means of a modern representative constitution.
Rewriting the French Revolutionary Tradition: Liberal Opposition and the Fall of the Bourbon Monarchy by R. S. Alexander. Analyzes relations among the Liberal Opposition, ultra-royalists, and the state during the Bourbon Restoration and early July Monarchy.
Playing at Monarchy: Sport as Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century France by Corry Cropper. How sports and games (tennis, fencing, bullfighting, chess, trictrac, hunting, and the Olympics) were metaphorically used to praise and mock class and political power structures.
In the Court of the Pear King: French Culture and the Rise of Realism by Sandy Petrey. In 1831, a caricature of French king Louis-Philippe as a pear became a national obsession. Meanwhile, French fiction concentrated on society's power to declare an individual a nonperson or to make plenitude out of emptiness.
The French Experience From Republic to Monarchy, 1792-1824: New Dawns in Politics, Knowledge and Culture edited by Maire F. Cross and David Williams. Essays on feminism, politics and theater, revolution and counter-revolution, patronage, medicine, music, science, and more. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Louis XVIII by Philip Mansel. Louis XVIII is often considered a weak, greedy nonentity. In this biography, Mansel sets out to prove that he deserves better. From Alibris.
Robert the Burgundian and the Counts of Anjou, Ca. 1025-1098 by W. Scott Jessee.
Philip the Bold: The Formation of the Burgundian State by Richard Vaughan. A biography of Philip, and a study of the emergence of the Burgundian state under his aegis, 1384-1404. New edition.
John the Fearless: The Growth of Burgundian Power by Richard Vaughan. New light on the aims and personality of the second duke (including his "infernal pact" and assassination), who ruled from 1404-1419.
Philip the Good: The Apogee of Burgundy by Richard Vaughan. Philip (ruled 1419-1467) inherited a flourishing and virtually independent state and a policy of territorial expansion which made him one of the most powerful and influential rules of the 15th century.
Charles the Bold: The Last Valois Duke of Burgundy by Richard Vaughan. An assessment of Charles's personality and his role as ruler (1467-1477), discussing his relationship with his subjects and his neighbors.
Charles the Bold and Italy, 1467-1477: Politics and Personnel by R. J. Walsh. Examines the duke's military, diplomatic, and economic relations with the subcontinent.
George Chastelain and the Shaping of Valois Burgundy: Political and Historical Culture at Court in the Fifteenth Century by Graeme Small. George Chastelain (c. 1414-1475) was official chronicler to the dukes Philip the Good and Charles the Bold. This book offers account of his life and career, followed by a study of the chronicle.
Splendour of the Burgundian Court: Charles the Bold (1433-1477) edited by Susan Marti, Till-Holger Borchert, and Gabriele Keck. Essays and full-color illustrations of objects from an exhibition on Charles the Bold. (Exhibition catalog)
Golden Age of Burgundy: The Magnificent Dukes and Their Courts by Joseph L. Calmette. Four dukes -- Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good, and Charles the Rash -- ruled Burgundy in its golden age and dared challenge the power of France. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Lonely Planet Corsica by Jean-Bernard Carillet and Miles Roddis. This travel guide includes a chapter on the history of Corsica.
Theodore von Neuhoff, King of Corsica: The Man Behind the Legend by Julie Gasper. Biography of the German baron who in 1736 had himself proclaimed and crowned King of Corsica.
The King of Corsica by Michael Kleeberg, translated by David Dollenmayer. Novel based on the true story of Theodor von Neuhoff, an impoverished 18th century aristocrat who became a double agent and in 1736 had himself proclaimed king by the Corsicans.
Mémoires D'exil et de Combats (Memories of Exile and War) by Henri, Comte de Paris. Published in 1979, this book was written by French prince Henri d'Orleans, Count of Paris (1908-1999). Available from AbeBooks.
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
Queen Margot starring Isabelle Adjani. A 1995 movie based on the Alexandre Dumas novel about the wife of Henry IV of France, who went to war against her husband and her brother, Henry III.
Chateau de Versailles (official website)
Official Site of Count of Paris (in French only)
The French Royal Family
The French Royal Family: A Genealogy
Nobility and Titles in France
French Royal Family
Descendants of King Louis Philippe I of the French
History of Europe in Medieval Times, France
Creating French Culture
The Man Who Would Be King, Louis de Bourbon
Madame de Pompadour
Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven