By Simon Schama
The main authoritative social, cultural and narrative background of the French Revolution, and one of many nice landmarks of contemporary heritage publishing.
'Monumental...provocative and fashionable, Simon Schama's account of the 1st few years of the good Revolution in France, and of the a long time that led as much as it, is considerate, proficient and profoundly revisionist' Eugen Weber, the recent York occasions e-book overview
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Additional info for Citizens: A Chronicle of The French Revolution (2nd Edition)
Indd 33 6/30/15 12:06 PM [ 34 ] H O W T H E F R E N CH T H I N K public lectures whose purpose was to stimulate discussion of scientific and philosophical issues as well as major questions of international politics. The philosopher’s name was also repeatedly used to promote the ideal of mass education—in notable contrast to conservative and fascist conceptions of culture. For the three hundredth anniversary of Descartes’s death in 1950, the communists organized an exhibition on the philosopher; it started in Paris and was then staged in Marseille, Grenoble, Lyon, and Montpellier.
This “power of refusal” (and this concept, too, was very Cartesian) was to be forged away from large gatherings, where individual judgment could too easily be swayed by wider groups. ” Alain’s conception of citizenship was an original synthesis of Cartesianism with republicanism: “If we wish a public life which is worthy of Humanity, the individual must remain the individual everywhere. ”24 The culmination of this celebration of Descartes as the emblem of republican rationalism was his coronation as symbol of the nation.
5 From the late Middle Ages onward, starting with the apocalyptic divinations of the French apothecary Nostradamus, whose Prophecies were published in a series of installments in the mid-sixteenth century, there has been a consistent French interest in combining the observation of stars with magic and history in order to uncover the hidden meaning of the universe. A doctoral dissertation on the commercial practice of occultism in 1934 found the trade to be flourishing across the country, with clients from all walks of life; in 1954, it was estimated that France had 50,000 fortune-tellers.
Citizens: A Chronicle of The French Revolution (2nd Edition) by Simon Schama