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Journal > Volumes > 44 (2013) / 4 (Winter)
“Nager entre deux eaux”: The Princes and the Ambiguities of French Protestantism
Stuart Carroll
University of York

This article rethinks the important question of why, despite the remarkable success of the French Protestant movement in the late 1550s and early 1560s, France did not turn Protestant. It does so by focusing on a hitherto neglected group: the French princely houses. Recent research has forced reconsideration of the motives and confessional identity of some of the best-known princes, such as those belonging to the houses of Guise and Bourbon. This essay identifies a group of largely neglected Protestant loyalists who shared much in common with the other moderate Catholic princes. It argues that they wished to steer a middle course between the confessions, to “nager entre deux eaux.” It explains their motivations and the consequences their actions had in shaping the course of French history on the eve of the Wars of Religion.

Pages: 985 - 1 020