France in the Enlightenment

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April 2000



A panorama of a whole civilization, a world on the verge of cataclysm, unfolds in this magisterial work by the foremost historian of eighteenth-century France. Since Tocqueville's account of the Old Regime, historians have struggled to understand the social, cultural, and political intricacies of this efflorescence of French society before the Revolution.< I>


Part 1 Times, spaces, powers: knowing France; mastery of space; time and history; peasant France and merchant France; the kingdom of exchange - the culture of privilege and the culture of commerce; the city, crucible of change; the regulated kingdom -Paris and the provinces. Part 2 Powers and conflicts: the king and his subjects; the king and the people; the end of rebellion; God, the king and the churches; elites and nobilities; public space; crises in state and society. Part 3 Enlightenment and society: life triumphant; the liberties of individuals; consumption and appearance; desacralization, secularization, illuminism; materializing the intelligence, abstracting things; Paris, capital of the Enlightenment.


Roche's writing is dense with example--he has delved into every corner of French life under the ancien regime, into parish and departmental records, government reports on trade and transport and forestry, into the writings of philosophers, divines, ministers, provincial and urban memorialists, some of them obscure (such as the glazier Jacques-Louis Metetra), into almanacs, libraries, academies, Masonic lodges, town and village fairs; but everything he brings to the text is there to stiffen his cumulative picture of a complex and contradictory society in which 'change is happening in a world that saw itself as stable, changeless and coherent by virtue of ancient principles and age-old values.' What interests Roche is the way changes are connected. He is as detailed and meticulous as Tocqueville, whose great book his own both complements and rivals...'Mastery of Space', 'Time and History', 'Peasant France and Merchant France', 'The Kingdom of Exchange'--the grandeur and scope of Roche's book is there in these early chapter headings. The world it opens up, and the terms it offers for understanding it, seem classically French, demanding but full of charm--a charm that lies in the elegance and energy with which ideas are handled, and the effortless rigour and clarity of the language, Nothing goes unremarked upon or unconsidered, but for all its density the writing is open to horizons: it "breathes".--David Malouf, "Australian Review of Books "
EAN: 9780674001992
ISBN: 0674001990
Untertitel: 'Harvard Historical Studies (Pa'. Revised. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2000
Seitenanzahl: 732 Seiten
Übersetzer/Sprecher: Übersetzt von Arthur Goldhammer
Format: kartoniert
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