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A new edition of James Collins's acclaimed synthesis that challenged longstanding views of the origins of modern states and absolute monarchy through an analysis of early modern Europe's most important continental state. Incorporating recent scholarship on the French state and his own research, James Collins has revised the text throughout. He examines recent debates on 'absolutism'; presents a fresh interpretation of the Fronde and of French society in the eighteenth century; includes additional material on French colonies and overseas trade; and ties recent theoretical work into a new chapter on Louis XIV. He argues that the monarchical state came into being around 1630, matured between 1690 and 1730 and, in a new final chapter, shows that the period May 1787 to June 1789 was an interregnum, with the end of the Ancien Regime coming not in 1789 but with the dissolution of the Assembly of Notables on 25 May 1787.