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Shadows of Revolution: Reflections on France, Past and Present

David A. Bell
Format
Book
Published
Oxford : Oxford University Press, [2016]
Language
English
ISBN
9780190262686, 0190262680
Summary
"Renowned historian, essayist, and journalist David A. Bell has long made France and its history the subject of his scholarly gaze and the object of his enduring affection. Shadows of Revolution : Reflections on France, Past and Present gathers together his writing, composed over a period of more than 25 years, into a single volume. As the title of this collection suggests, Bell views much of French history through the lens of the Revolutionary era. Within a space of a dozen years, from Bastille to Bonaparte, the country experimented with and experienced every form of governance, creating in the process, as Bell puts it, 'the most intense political laboratory the world had ever known.' The Revolution remains the country's defining era, delineating its sense of identity and overshadowing the events that followed it. Yet another, Bell argues, is the Vichy period and World War Two--France's dark night of the soul--with whose legacies the country continues to contend. These two moments of violent and transformative upheaval may dominate French history, but as this collection and Bell's observational powers reveal, the full range of topics involving France is endlessly rich and diverse. Divided into eight sections, it connects France's education to its national identity, the Enlightenment to the Revolution and human rights, Napoleon to Victor Hugo, and nineteenth-century anti-Semitism to such recent events such as the riots of 2006, the Arab Spring, and the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. Shadows of Revolution embodies and reflects the endlessly fascinating and entertaining complexity of French history, and shows the ways in which it has shaped world history"--
Contents
  • Introduction: 45, rue d'Ulm
  • Part I. The "Longue Durée"
  • Paris blues : history and the French state
  • The ordeal of legitimacy : France and its Jews
  • The never-ending "herstory" : history from below, women, and gender
  • Bicycle history : the supposed lost tribes of rural France
  • Part II. From the Old Regime to the Revolution
  • The Colbert Report : information management, Bourbon-style
  • Twilight approaches : myths and realities of the literary salons
  • Profane illuminations : the enlightenments feuding giants
  • Enlightenment's errand boy : the Enlightenment and the republic of letters
  • The fault is not in our "stars, " but in ourselves : the invention of celebrity
  • Handsome, charming... : comedy, social climbing, and the end of the Old Regime
  • Where do we come from? the Enlightenment and the age of revolutions
  • Part III. The Revolution
  • Un Dret Egal : the Revolution and human rights
  • Cherchez la Femme : the Revolution and women
  • Words and tumbrels : the Revolution and language
  • Bastille days : the Revolution's great eccentric historian
  • The culture of war in Europe, 1750-1815
  • The conductor : Maximilien Robespierre
  • A very different French Revolution
  • Part IV. Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Just like us : writing Napoleon's life
  • When the barracks were bursting with poets : Napoleon's life writing
  • Brushes with power : Napoleon and art
  • One does it like this : Napoleon's "shit in a silk stocking"
  • Was Tolstoy right? Napoleon in Russia
  • Violets in their lapels : Napoleon's legend
  • Part V. The nineteenth century
  • Becoming France : a country between traumas
  • La Même chose : Americans abroad
  • Big : the Napoleon of literature
  • Who mended Pierre's leg? Lourdes and the Catholic Right
  • Conspiracy porn : fictional anti-Semitism
  • Pogroms of words : the France of the Dreyfus Affair
  • Part VI. Vichy
  • When French irrationality was deadly : Vichy's literary progenitors
  • The collaborator : Vichy's moral drama
  • Everyday choices : dealing with the Occupation
  • The humanist as hero : the literary sources of moral resistance
  • Poison pen : a literary collaborator on trial
  • The president as narcissist : from Vichy to the Élysée
  • Part VII. Parallels : past and present
  • Paristroika : from the Bastille to the Lubyanka
  • The Shorn identity : the end of French Republican assimilation
  • The peace paradox : from Paris to Baghdad
  • Why we can't rule out an Egyptian reign of terror : from Paris to Cairo
  • Inglorious revolutions : why we expect too much
  • Coda: The French dilemma.
Description
x, 444 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View

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    a| Introduction: 45, rue d'Ulm -- Part I. The "Longue Durée" -- Paris blues : history and the French state -- The ordeal of legitimacy : France and its Jews -- The never-ending "herstory" : history from below, women, and gender -- Bicycle history : the supposed lost tribes of rural France -- Part II. From the Old Regime to the Revolution -- The Colbert Report : information management, Bourbon-style -- Twilight approaches : myths and realities of the literary salons -- Profane illuminations : the enlightenments feuding giants -- Enlightenment's errand boy : the Enlightenment and the republic of letters -- The fault is not in our "stars, " but in ourselves : the invention of celebrity -- Handsome, charming... : comedy, social climbing, and the end of the Old Regime -- Where do we come from? the Enlightenment and the age of revolutions -- Part III. The Revolution -- Un Dret Egal : the Revolution and human rights -- Cherchez la Femme : the Revolution and women -- Words and tumbrels : the Revolution and language -- Bastille days : the Revolution's great eccentric historian -- The culture of war in Europe, 1750-1815 -- The conductor : Maximilien Robespierre -- A very different French Revolution -- Part IV. Napoleon Bonaparte -- Just like us : writing Napoleon's life -- When the barracks were bursting with poets : Napoleon's life writing -- Brushes with power : Napoleon and art -- One does it like this : Napoleon's "shit in a silk stocking" -- Was Tolstoy right? Napoleon in Russia -- Violets in their lapels : Napoleon's legend -- Part V. The nineteenth century -- Becoming France : a country between traumas -- La Même chose : Americans abroad -- Big : the Napoleon of literature -- Who mended Pierre's leg? Lourdes and the Catholic Right -- Conspiracy porn : fictional anti-Semitism -- Pogroms of words : the France of the Dreyfus Affair -- Part VI. Vichy -- When French irrationality was deadly : Vichy's literary progenitors -- The collaborator : Vichy's moral drama -- Everyday choices : dealing with the Occupation -- The humanist as hero : the literary sources of moral resistance -- Poison pen : a literary collaborator on trial -- The president as narcissist : from Vichy to the Élysée -- Part VII. Parallels : past and present -- Paristroika : from the Bastille to the Lubyanka -- The Shorn identity : the end of French Republican assimilation -- The peace paradox : from Paris to Baghdad -- Why we can't rule out an Egyptian reign of terror : from Paris to Cairo -- Inglorious revolutions : why we expect too much -- Coda: The French dilemma.
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    a| "Renowned historian, essayist, and journalist David A. Bell has long made France and its history the subject of his scholarly gaze and the object of his enduring affection. Shadows of Revolution : Reflections on France, Past and Present gathers together his writing, composed over a period of more than 25 years, into a single volume. As the title of this collection suggests, Bell views much of French history through the lens of the Revolutionary era. Within a space of a dozen years, from Bastille to Bonaparte, the country experimented with and experienced every form of governance, creating in the process, as Bell puts it, 'the most intense political laboratory the world had ever known.' The Revolution remains the country's defining era, delineating its sense of identity and overshadowing the events that followed it. Yet another, Bell argues, is the Vichy period and World War Two--France's dark night of the soul--with whose legacies the country continues to contend. These two moments of violent and transformative upheaval may dominate French history, but as this collection and Bell's observational powers reveal, the full range of topics involving France is endlessly rich and diverse. Divided into eight sections, it connects France's education to its national identity, the Enlightenment to the Revolution and human rights, Napoleon to Victor Hugo, and nineteenth-century anti-Semitism to such recent events such as the riots of 2006, the Arab Spring, and the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. Shadows of Revolution embodies and reflects the endlessly fascinating and entertaining complexity of French history, and shows the ways in which it has shaped world history"-- c| Provided by publisher.
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