The Pride of Place: Local Memories and Political Culture in Modern France by Stéphane GersonThe Pride of Place: Local Memories and Political Culture in Modern France by Stéphane Gerson

The Pride of Place: Local Memories and Political Culture in Modern France

byStéphane Gerson

Paperback | September 4, 2003

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Nineteenth-century France grew fascinated with the local past. Thousands of citizens embraced local archaeology, penned historical vignettes and monographs, staged historical pageants, and created museums and pantheons of celebrities. Stéphane Gerson's rich, elegantly written, and timely book provides the first cultural and political history of what contemporaries called the "cult of local memories," an unprecedented effort to resuscitate the past, instill affection for one's locality, and hence create a sense of place. A wide range of archival and printed sources (some of them untapped until now) inform the author's engaging portrait of a little-known realm of Parisian entrepreneurs and middling provincials, of obscure historians and intellectual luminaries. Arguing that the "local" and modernity were interlaced, rather than inimical, between the 1820s and 1890s, Gerson explores the diverse uses of local memories in modern France—from their theatricality and commercialization to their political and pedagogical applications. The Pride of Place shows that, contrary to our received ideas about French nationhood and centralism, the "local" buttressed the nation while seducing Parisian and local officials. The state cautiously supported the cult of local memories even as it sought to co-opt them and grappled with their cultural and political implications. The current enthusiasm for local memories, Gerson thus finds, is neither new nor a threat to Republican unity. More broadly yet, this book illuminates the predicament of countries that, like France, are now caught between supranational forces and a revival of local sentiments.
Title:The Pride of Place: Local Memories and Political Culture in Modern FranceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.34 inPublished:September 4, 2003Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801488737

ISBN - 13:9780801488733

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Editorial Reviews

"This highly original book challenges the conventional understanding of bourgeois political culture in nineteenth-century France. At both the local and national levels, Gerson finds a lively interest in celebrating the historical and cultural singularity of provincial towns and small regions. Drawing on colonial studies to explain the uneven results of negotiations between state officials and local boosters, this important book presents a strikingly new way of thinking about the politics of French identity from the July Monarchy to the Third Republic."—Jo Burr Margadant, author of The New Biography: Performing Femininity in Nineteenth-Century France, coeditor of French Historical Studies