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La Boétie Absolutist? An episode in the history of political thought

O'Brien, John

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First published in 1652–1654 and then in a new edition in 1666, the Discours politiques of the académicien Daniel de Priézac (1590–1662) have been characterized as a statement of Aristotelian politics in the service of absolutism. The aspect of interest in this article is Priézac’s hitherto unnoticed practice of quoting from La Boétie’s La Servitude volontaire. It may seem strange that a treatise so often associated with anti-tyrannical literature should be used in a work of political thought defending the monarchy and the state. Priézac’s attempt to exploit it takes place against the background of the Fronde. Priézac was also a protégé of Séguier, to whom the Discours were dedicated; and Séguier owned an (extant) manuscript of La Boétie’s treatise. Through a combination of close reading and historical contextualization, this article will elucidate this absolutist turn in the reception of La Boétie.


O'Brien, J. (2023). La Boétie Absolutist? An episode in the history of political thought. Early Modern French Studies, 45(1), 30-37.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 10, 2023
Online Publication Date Jun 5, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 19, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 19, 2023
Journal Early Modern French Studies
Print ISSN 2056-3035
Electronic ISSN 2056-3043
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 1
Pages 30-37


Published Journal Article (428 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
&copy; 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor &amp; Francis Group<br /> This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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