Certain Ideas Of France: Essays On French History And Civilization

Hardcover | June 1, 2002

byH. L. Wesseling, Eugen Weber

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The title of this book is, of course, inspired by the famous opening words of General de Gaulle's Memoirs of the Second World War: "All my life I have thought of France in a certain way." Wesseling brings together his essays dealing with a great variety of subjects such as culture, society, politics, and diplomacy, with one section devoted entirely to French historians. The first section contains an chapter on the famous painter Ary Scheffer and the France of his time, that is to say the first half of the 19th century. The second chapter continues this theme and deals with Emile Zola and the Paris of the Second Empire. Two other chapters discuss aspects of the Third Republic, sports and students, respectively. The second section is devoted to French intellectuals. It offers the first in-depth analysis of the group of intellectuals that supported Zola and Dreyfus. Chapter six deals with one of the great literary figures of the interwar period--and later a notorious collaborator--Robert Brasillach. Chapter seven contains a vivid sketch of the life and work of the famous French intellectual Raymond Aron. The third section is devoted to politics and diplomacy. French foreign policy is discussed both in its long-term perspective as well as more specifically in the period of Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle's "idea of France" is compared with that of an author by whom he was greatly influenced, Charles Peguy. Finally, there is a section on French history writing, including two biographical essays, one about Gabriel Hanotaux, the once famous but now nearly forgotten historian who became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and another on Fernand Braudel, the great contemporary French historian and closefriend of Wesseling. Of particular interest to scholars, students, and other researchers involved with French history, the history of ideas, and European historiography.

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The title of this book is, of course, inspired by the famous opening words of General de Gaulle's Memoirs of the Second World War: "All my life I have thought of France in a certain way." Wesseling brings together his essays dealing with a great variety of subjects such as culture, society, politics, and diplomacy, with one section dev...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.92 × 6.12 × 0.85 inPublished:June 1, 2002Publisher:Greenwood PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313323410

ISBN - 13:9780313323416

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?[p]resents a sweeping personal reflection on various, and sometimes contradictory, imaginings of France and French civilization spanning the past to centuries....[a]ccessible to audiences without an in-depth knowladge of French history and culture as well as satisfying to those intimately acquainted with temporal procession of hexagon since 1815.... Certain Ideas of France delivers on what it promises, a survey of some notions of Frenchness and about France's role in the world written in essay format and, therefore, meant to inform and speculate on what are still considered to be fundamental "problems" for France today--the search for a definable and sustainable identity, as well as the recurring themes of decline and renewal that seem to be at the genesis of so many French nationalisms.?-H-France Book Reviews