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By Patrick Sénécal

Il était une fois... Alice, une jeune fille curieuse, délurée, fonceuse et intelligente de Brossard. À dix-huit ans, poussée par son besoin d'affirmation de soi, elle décide qu'il est temps de quitter le cégep et le cocon familial pour aller vivre sa vie là où tout est attainable, c'est-à-dire dans l. a. métropole. À los angeles suite d'une rencontre fortuite dans le métro, Alice aboutit dans un quartier dont elle n'a jamais entendu parler et où les gens sont extrêmement bizarres. Mais c'est common, non ? Elle est à Montréal et dans toute grande ville qui se respecte, il y a plein d'excentriques, comme Charles ou Verrue, d'illuminés, comme Andromaque ou Chess, et d'êtres encore plus inquiétants, comme Bone et Chair… Alice s'installe donc et mord à pleines dents dans l. a. vie, prête à tout pour se tailler une position. Or, elle ne peut savoir que là où elle a élu dwelling house, l'expression être « prêt à tout » revêt un sens très particulier…

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This is particularly relevant when we turn our attention to the pays d’´etats, where recent research has revealed a far more complex relationship with the crown than was hitherto suspected. Beik, in particular, has offered a remarkable insight into the government of Languedoc in the seventeenth century. During the ministries of Richelieu and Mazarin, the province was rocked by periodic revolts, suffered attacks on some of its leading institutions, notably the Estates, and experienced a dramatic increase in the fiscal burden.

Doyle, Venality. The sale of offices in eighteenth-century France (Oxford, 1996). Doyle, Venality, pp. 26–57, and Bossenga, Politics of privilege, pp. 41–6, are rich in examples. M. Potter, ‘Good offices: intermediation by corporate bodies in early modern French public finance’, The Journal of Economic History 60 (2000), 599–626, examines the system in detail. Bien, ‘Offices, corps’, 106–12. Historians, monarchy and the provincial estates 19 absolutist monarchy crushing opposition in the seventeenth century, only to succumb in turn to the nefarious effects of privileged opposition less than a hundred years later is largely discredited.

60 During the early years of Louis XIV’s personal rule the situation was transformed with the establishment of order and tranquillity. 61 According to Beik’s analysis, absolutism was nothing less than the ‘story of a restructured feudal society’, with monarch and landed aristocracy ‘exploring ways of defending their interests in a changing world’. Louis XIV was deeply suspicious of any form of dissent and was determined to be obeyed, but he was also prepared to be generous towards those willing to collaborate.

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