The Edict of Nantes, signed by Henri IV in April 1598, contributed to the peace of the realm but did not fully satisfy French Catholics or Protestants. Passed by the parliaments with some opposition, it gave rise to two centuries of contained but latent conflict, punctuated by episodes of lively tension followed by periods of appeasement. This era only really came to an end with the outcome of the French Revolution, which was characterized in southern France by the return of the “Wars of Religion.” 1 Throughout the Ancien Régime books were an instrument for mobilizing the faithful in the service of religious reform, to the extent that the royal authority, faced with a new kind of dissidence, applied itself from the sixteenth century on to controlling strictly the activities of printers and booksellers. The Edict of Châteaubriant, promulgated by Henri II on June 27, 1551, sought to forbid the printing and importation of books deemed “heretical,” to restrict their use to Catholic theologians who needed to know the arguments of their adversaries in order to refute them, and to oblige printers in the “bonnes villes” to operate under the control of royal judges. The Edict of Nantes annulled these provisions while preserving specific constraints on Huguenot publications. Article XXI stipulated, “Books treating the said supposed reformed religion may be printed and sold only in towns and places where the public exercise of the said religion is allowed.” The article also proscribed “the printing, publication and sale of all books, libels and defamatory writings on pain of the punishments contained in our decrees, enjoining our judges and officials to uphold and enforce them.” 2 Thus it was not the matter of soothing religious passions but the rise in controversial writings, whose defamatory character cannot be denied, rendered this aspiration vain.