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Bastards – Politics, Family, and Law in Early Modern France - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Bastards: Politics, Family, and Law in Early Modern France

Matthew Gerber


Commonly stigmatized as “bastards” in early modern France, children born out of wedlock were said to have neither kin nor kind, neither family nor nation. In practice, however, many natural parents voluntarily recognized their extramarital offspring and raised them within their households. Because early modern France lacked a uniform code of civil law, the rights and legal disabilities of these children were matters of perennial litigation and debate. The stigmatization of extramarital offspring intensified in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as the sovereign courts curbed the rights th ... More

Keywords: bastard, foundling, natural child, law, state building, monarchy, litigation, stigma

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199755370
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755370.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Gerber, author
University of Colorado at Boulder