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3 The Experiential World of Jean Bodin

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines a sub-set of the referential substructure to published works from the Bodinian corpus: La Response. au paradoxe de monsieur de Malestroict, Les Six livres de la république, and De la démonomanie. It leaves to one side what Jean Bodin read, or claimed to have read, in published works, although the 'experiential' is stretched to include what he consulted in archival repositories and manuscript collections. His 'methods of bookishness' were such that he made no clear distinction between what he had read and what he had seen. 'Experience' was, he tells us several times, the mistress of things a tag from Pliny's Natural History. Bodin's integration of his theory of sovereignty with French and other experiences of representative institutions and with other processes of the increasingly complex sixteenth-century state is a systematic confrontation of theory with the real world.

Keywords: De la démonomanie; Jean Bodin; Les Six livres de la république



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