The book examines the interactions among religious practices, urbanization processes, and the rise of French Absolutism. It focuses on the cult of Sainte Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, and the ways in which social and political developments in Paris between 1400 and the French Revolution shaped the cult and were, in turn, shaped by it.
The first section analyzes the development of the cult, its liturgy and cult practitioners, in medieval Paris, and the construction of the saint as a patroness of the city.
The second part follows the transformations in public rituals of invocations of the saint, and the appropriations of the cult by municipal and royal authorities.
The third section focuses on the devotional practices and social composition of the lay confraternity in honor of the saint.