The Wars of Religion embroiled France in decades of faction, violence, and peacemaking in the late sixteenth century. When historians interpret these events they inevitably depend on sources of information gathered by contemporaries, none more valuable than the diaries and collection of Pierre de L'Estoile (1546-1611), who lived through the civil wars in Paris and shaped how they have been remembered ever since. Taking him out of the footnotes, and demonstrating his
significance in the culture of the late Renaissance, this is the first life of L'Estoile in any language. It examines how he negotiated and commemorated the conflicts that divided France as he assembled an extraordinary collection of the relics of the troubles, a collection that he called 'the
storehouse of my curiosities'. The story of his life and times is the history of the civil wars in the making.
Focusing on a crucial individual for understanding Reformation Europe, this study challenges historians' assumptions about the widespread impact of confessional conflict in the sixteenth century. L'Estoile's prudent, non-confessional responses to the events he lived through and recorded were common among his milieu of Gallican Catholics. His life-writing and engagement with contemporary news, books, and pictures reveals how individuals used different genres and media to destabilise rather than
fix confessional identities. Bringing together the great variety of topics in society and culture that attracted L'Estoile's curiosity, this volume rethinks his world in the Wars of Religion.
Tom Hamilton is a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He studied History at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, and at New College, University of Oxford, and is the author of several articles about the social and cultural history of early modern France and Europe.