Contrary to their traditional image as a caste of intransigent reactionaries and parasites, this analysis maintains that pre-revolutionary nobility actually were in the forefront of French economic and intellectual life, and until 1789, at the head of the movement for reform of the old regime.
In the latter half of the 1970s, the French intellectual Left denounced communism, Marxism, and revolutionary politics through a critique of left-wing totalitarianism that paved the way for today's postmodern, liberal, and moderate republican political options. Contrary to the dominant understanding of the critique of totalitarianism as an abrupt rupture induced by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, Christofferson argues that French anti-totalitarianism was the culmination of direct-democratic critiques of communism and revisions of the revolutionary project after 1956. The author's focus on the direct-democratic politics of French intellectuals offers an important alternative to recent histories that seek to explain the course of French intellectual politics by France's apparent lack of a liberal tradition.
The image of the debauched French aristocrat of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is one that still has power over the international public imagination, from the unending fascination with the Marquis de Sade to the successes of the film Ridicule. Drawing on memoirs, letters, popular songs and pamphlets, and political treatises, The Enlightened and Depraved: Decadence, Radicalism, and the Early Modern French Nobility traces the origins of this powerful stereotype from between the reign of Louis XIV and the Terror of the French Revolution. The decadent and enlightened noble of early modern France, the libertine, was born in a push to transform the nobility from a warrior caste into an intelligentsia. Education itself had become a power through which the privileged could set themselves free from old social and religious restraints. However, by the late eighteenth century, the libertine noble was already falling under attack by changing attitudes toward gender, an emphasis on economic utility over courtly service, and ironically the very revolutionary forces that the enlightened nobility of the court and Paris helped awaken. In the end, the libertine nobility would not survive the French Revolution, but the basic idea of knowledge as a liberating force would endure in modernity, divorced from a single class.
Historians have long been fascinated by the nobility in pre-Revolutionary France. What difference did nobles make in French society? What role did they play in the coming of the Revolution? In this book, a group of prominent French historians shows why the nobility remains a vital topic for understanding France&’s past. The French Nobility in the Eighteenth Century appears some thirty years after the publication of the most sweeping and influential &“revisionist&” assessment of the French nobility, Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret&’s La noblesse au dix-huiti&ème si&ècle. The contributors to this volume incorporate the important lessons of Chaussinand-Nogaret&’s revisionism but also reexamine the assumptions on which that revisionism was based. At the same time, they consider what has been gained or lost through the adoption of new methods of inquiry in the intervening years. Where, in other words, should the nobility fit into the twenty-first century&’s narrative about eighteenth-century France? The French Nobility in the Eighteenth Century will interest not only specialists of the eighteenth century, the French Revolution, and modern European history but also those concerned with the differences in, and the developing tensions between, the methods of social and cultural history. In addition to the editor, the contributors are Rafe Blaufarb, Gail Bossenga, Mita Choudhury, Jonathan Dewald, Doina Pasca Harsanyi, Thomas E. Kaiser, Michael Kwass, Robert M. Schwartz, John Shovlin, and Johnson Kent Wright.
Now in paperback, an award-winning look at French salons and the women who presided over them In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, between the reign of Louis XIII and the Revolution, French aristocratic society developed an art of living based on a refined code of good manners. Conversation, which began as a way of passing time, eventually became the central ritual of social life. In the salons, freed from the rigidity of court life, it was women who dictated the rules and presided over exchanges among socialites, writers, theologians, and statesmen. They contributed decisively to the development of the modern French language, new literary forms, and debates over philosophical and scientific ideas. With a cast of characters both famous and unknown, ranging from the Marquise de Rambouillet to Madame de Sta‘l, and including figures like Ninon de Lenclos, the Marquise de Sevigne, and Madame de Lafayette, as well as Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, Diderot, and Voltaire, Benedetta Craveri traces the history of this worldly society that carried the art of sociability to its supreme perfection–and ultimately helped bring on the Revolution that swept it all away.
Since time immemorial Europe had been dominated by nobles and nobilities. In the eighteenth century their power seemed better entrenched than ever. But in 1790 the French revolutionaries made a determined attempt to abolish nobility entirely. 'Aristocracy' became the term for everything they were against, and the nobility of France, so recently the most dazzling and sophisticated elite in the European world, found itself persecuted in ways that horrified counterparts in other countries. Aristocracy and its Enemies traces the roots of the attack on nobility at this time, looking at intellectual developments over the preceding centuries, in particular the impact of the American Revolution. It traces the steps by which French nobles were disempowered and persecuted, a period during which large numbers fled the country and many perished or were imprisoned. In the end abolition of the aristocracy proved impossible, and nobles recovered much of their property. Napoleon set out to reconcile the remnants of the old nobility to the consequences of revolution, and created a titled elite of his own. After his fall the restored Bourbons offered renewed recognition to all forms of nobility. But nineteenth century French nobles were a group transformed and traumatized by the revolutionary experience, and they never recovered their old hegemony and privileges. As William Doyle shows, if the revolutionaries failed in their attempt to abolish nobility, they nevertheless began the longer term process of aristocratic decline that has marked the last two centuries.
New Perspectives on the Intellectual and Cultural History of Postwar France
Author: Julian Bourg
Publisher: Lexington Books
Madame de Pompadour's famous quip, "Apres nous, le deluge," serves as fitting inspiration for this lively discussion of postwar French intellectual and cultural life. Over the past thirty years, North American and European scholarship has been significantly transformed by the absorption of poststructuralist and postmodernist theories from French thinkers. But Julian Bourg's seamlessly edited volume proves that, historically speaking, French intellecutal and cultural life since World War Two has involved much more than a few infamous figures and concepts. Motivated by a desire to narrate and contextualize the deluge of "French theory," After the Deluge showcases recent work by today's brightest scholars of French intellectual history that historicizes key debates, figures, and turning points in the postwar era of French thought. Relying on primary and archival sources, contributors examine, among other themes: left-wing critiques of the Left, the internationalizing of thought, the institutional and affective conditions of cultural life, and the religious imagination. They revive neglected debates and figures, and they explore the larger impact of political quarrels. In an afterword, preeminent French historian Francois Dosse heralds the arrival of a new generation, a historiographical sensibility that brings fresh, original perspectives and a passion for French history to the contemporary French intellectual arena. After the Deluge adds significant depth and breadth to our understanding of postwar French intellectual and cultural history."
Examining in detail the work of consecration carried out by elite education systems, Bourdieu analyzes the distinctive forms of power—political, intellectual, bureaucratic, and economic—by means of which contemporary societies are governed.
This work focuses on the series of encounters between the most prominent French philosophers of the 1960s and 1970s and the artists of their times, most particularly the protagonists of the Narrative Figuration movement.
Preface: the intellectual as object / a 'Selfie'? -- Introduction: the city and the pen -- Intellectuals in the torment of the century -- The Dreyfus affairs: human rights or author's rights? -- From Voltaire to Bourdieu: who are the 'true intellectuals'? -- Marx and his descendants: symbolic capital or political capital? -- The discreet charm of fascism: flirtation or love story? -- Twilight of the idols: the critical intellectual domesticated? -- Islamophobia and the intellectuals' 'rhinoceritis' -- From Houellebecq to Charlie Hebdo: submission or humour? -- From Finkielkraut to Zemmour: decadence or xenophobia?
Changing Identities in Early Modern France offers new interpretations of what it meant to be French during a period of profound transition, from the outbreak of the Hundred Years War in the mid-fourteenth century to the consolidation of the Bourbon monarchy in the seventeenth century. These essays consider a period when medieval notions were gradually giving way to new definitions of the state, society, and family; when dynastic struggles and religious wars raised new questions about loyalty and identity; when the meaning of "Frenchness" was very much in flux. The collection begins by examining the interplay between competing ideologies and public institutions, from the monarchy to the Parliament of Paris to the aristocratic household. The volume then shifts to explore the dynamics of deviance and dissent, particularly as they involved women's roles in movements for religious reform, as well as topics such as the sensational phenomena of the witch hunts and infanticide trials. Concluding essays speak to the complex ways in which, in response to the discovery of the New World and the spectacular spread of Calvinism, regional and confessional identities reshaped French identity. Avoiding the historicist trap of imputing a certain inevitability or sense of progress to actions taken long ago, this important volume questions the notion that modern national identities represent the culmination of long developments that stretch back seamlessly to the Middle Ages. Changing Identities in Early Modern France will be valued for its incisive exploration of questions at the leading edge of the most recent historical methodologies and will be of particular interest to students and scholars of France, the early modern period, and the history of religion. Contributors. Charmarie Blaisdell, William Bouwsma, Lawrence M. Bryant, Denis Crouzet, Robert Descimon, Barbara B. Diefendorf, Richard M. Golden, Sarah Hanley, Mack P. Holt, Donald R. Kelley, Kristen B. Neuschel, J. H. M. Salmon, Zachary Sayre Schiffman, Silvia Shannon, Alfred Soman, Michael Wolfe
The essays in the first part of this collection discuss a constructivist approach to the field of comparative politics; the second part presents four case studies that illustrate constructivist analysis.
"Examines the American experience of a group of French liberal aristocrats who had participated in the early years of the French Revolution and subsequently lived as political refugees in Philadelphia from 1793 to 1798"--Provided by publisher.
Combining the intellectual history of the Enlightenment, Atlantic history, and the history of the French Revolution, Paul Cheney explores the political economy of globalization in eighteenth-century France. The discovery of the New World and the rise of Europe's Atlantic economy brought unprecedented wealth. It also reordered the political balance among European states and threatened age-old social hierarchies within them. In this charged context, the French developed a "science of commerce" that aimed to benefit from this new wealth while containing its revolutionary effects. Montesquieu became a towering authority among reformist economic and political thinkers by developing a politics of fusion intended to reconcile France's aristocratic society and monarchical state with the needs and risks of international commerce. The Seven Years' War proved the weakness of this model, and after this watershed reforms that could guarantee shared prosperity at home and in the colonies remained elusive. Once the Revolution broke out in 1789, the contradictions that attended the growth of France's Atlantic economy helped to bring down the constitutional monarchy. Drawing upon the writings of philosophes, diplomats, consuls of commerce, and merchants, Cheney rewrites the history of political economy in the Enlightenment era and provides a new interpretation of the relationship between capitalism and the French Revolution.