Aristocracy: A Very Short Introduction

by William Doyle

Series: Very Short Introductions

Aristocracies or nobilities dominated the social, economic, and institutional history of all European counties until only a few generations ago. The relics of their power, in traditions and behaviour, in architecture and the arts, are still all around us.This short introduction shows how ideas of aristocracy originated in ancient times, were transformed in the middle ages, and have only fallen apart over the last two centuries. The myths in which aristocracies have always sought to shroud themselves are stripped away, but the true sources of their enduring power are also revealed. Their outlook and behaviour affected the rest of society in innumerable and sometimes surprising ways, but perhaps most surprising was the way in which acenturies-old aristocratic hegemony crumbled away over the last two hundred years. In this Very Short Introduction William Doyle considers why this happend and what remains today.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

  • OUP Oxford; November 2010
  • ISBN: 9780191548635
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Aristocracy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Series: Very Short Introductions
  • Author: William Doyle
  • Imprint: OUP Oxford

In The Press

excellent introduction to the subject, clearly structured and packed with telling examples


About The Author

William Doyle is Emeritus Professor of History and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, where he taught from 1986 to 2008. He had previously taught at the Universities of York and Nottingham and has held visiting appointments at Oxford, Cambridge and institutions in France and the USA. He has written a dozen books, mainly on eighteenth century history, and is a Fellow of the British Academy.