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Ambitions Tamed Urban Expansion in Pre-revolutionary Lyon by Pierre-Claude Reynard

Ambitions Tamed Urban Expansion in Pre-revolutionary Lyon


Ambitions Tamed Urban Expansion in Pre-revolutionary Lyon by Pierre-Claude Reynard

When Lyon's population experienced significant growth in the eighteenth century, architect Jean-Antoine Morand made a radical proposal: France's second city would expand across the river Rhone, making him rich in the process. Intense work and bitter rivalries resulted, although they bore fruit only long after Morand had died on the guillotine in 1794. In Ambitions Tamed, Pierre Reynard profiles Morand's career to provide a case-study of the possibilities of urban reform and refashioning within the courtly society of the Old Regime. Morand's story offers fascinating insights into social and professional advancement in a society defined by privilege, the workings of a complex urban political culture, relationships between a provincial city and the capital, the role of factions in determining the success or failure of enterprises and reforms, and the technical and financial aspects of late eighteenth-century urban projects. Ambitions Tamed illuminates the literature and methodologies of urban development, economic and entrepreneurial history, intellectual history, and environmental history in order to explain more fully the relationships among enlightened principles, established power structures, and new initiatives at the dawn of urban expansion.


Reynard's biographical narrative is a well-researched and engaging study of a river, a bridge, and the ambition to tame one with the other. Dean T. Ferguson, Texas A&M University Well-researched and clearly written - the author has mastered all the relevant sources, especially for Lyon. Robert Schneider, Indiana University Reynard shows brilliantly how things did - and did not - get done, and why, and what obstacles stood between Morand and his dreams. A touching portrayal of Morand, and a masterful look at the complexities of eighteenth-century entrepreneurship. John Merriman, Yale University

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

24th April 2009


Pierre-Claude Reynard

More books by Pierre-Claude Reynard
Author 'Like for Like'


McGill-Queen's University Press


256 pages


Social & cultural history
European history
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Urban & municipal planning
City & town planning - architectural aspects



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