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The Bad Taste of Others

Judging Literary Value in Eighteenth-Century France

By Jennifer Tsien

An act of bad taste was more than a faux pas to French philosophers of the Enlightenment. To Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, and others, bad taste in the arts could be a sign of the decline of a civilization. These intellectuals, faced with the potential chaos of an expanding literary market, created seals of disapproval in order to shape the literary and cultural heritage of France in their image. In The Bad Taste of Others Jennifer Tsien examines the power of ridicule and exclusion to shape the period's aesthetics.

Tsien reveals how the philosophes consecrated themselves as the protectors of true French culture modeled on the classical, the rational, and the orderly. Their anxiety over the invasion of the Republic of Letters by hordes of hacks caused them to devise standards that justified the marginalization of worldy women, "barbarians," and plebeians. While critics avoided strict definitions of good taste, they wielded the term "bad taste" against all popular works they wished to erase from the canon of French literature, including Renaissance poetry, biblical drama, the burlesque theater of the previous century, the essays of Montaigne, and genres associated with the so-called précieuses. Tsien's study draws attention to long-disregarded works of salon culture, such as the énigmes, and offers a new perspective on the critical legacy of Voltaire. The philosophes' open disdain for the undiscerning reading public challenges the belief that the rise of aesthetics went hand in hand with Enlightenment ideas of equality and relativism.

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Balzac's Comedy of Words

Martin Kanes

Although Balzac's work has been much studied, practically nothing has been written on his use of linguistic concepts. Applying a new approach, this perceptive book demonstrates that the theme and theory of language were central to Balzac's fiction. In considering how the novelist was influenced by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century speculation on language, Martin Kanes traces the development of Balzac's own linguistic ideas from his early to his later writings.

Originally published in 1976.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Baron Thugut and Austria's Response to the French Revolution

Karl A. Roider Jr.

Here is the first political biography of Baron Franz Maria Thugut, the principal Austrian opponent of the French Revolution. This work explains Thugut's role as the first Austrian statesman seriously to confront the Revolution. In the process it makes significant revisions in the conventional picture of the international system of the period.

Originally published in 1987.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Battle Studies

A new English translation of Ardant du Picq’s classic Battle Studies, introduced by a new biographical essay. Battle Studies is one of handful of books which address the experience of combat directly.

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Beauvoir and Her Sisters

The Politics of Women's Bodies in France

Sandra Reineke

Beauvoir and Her Sisters investigates how women's experiences, as represented in print culture, led to a political identity of an "imagined sisterhood" through which political activism developed and thrived in postwar France. Through the lens of women's political and popular writings, Sandra Reineke presents a unique interpretation of feminist and intellectual discourse on citizenship, identity, and reproductive rights._x000B__x000B_Drawing on feminist writings by Simone de Beauvoir, feminist reviews from the women's liberation movement, and cultural reproductions from French women's fashion and beauty magazines, Reineke illustrates how print media created new spaces for political and social ideas. This sustained study extends from 1944, when women received the right to vote in France, to 1993, when the French government outlawed anti-abortion activities. Touching on the relationship between consumer culture and feminist practice, Reineke's analysis of a selection of women's writings underlines how these texts challenged traditional gender models and ideals._x000B_

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Beckett's Critical Complicity

Carnival, Contestation, and Tradition

Sylvie Debevic Henning

Samuel Beckett's work harbors an inevitable complicity with traditional modes and values. His idealist and even nihilist inclinations, for example, are closely related to the abstracting and systematizing tendencies that have predominated in Western thinking. His drama and fiction, in reproducing these tendencies, also help to reinforce and legitimate them. Beckett's work can thus be said to encourage an attitude of stoic resignation or life-denying withdrawal.

Sylvie Debevec Henning's study reveals an important countertendency. In examining Beckett's art and literary criticism, his novel Murphy, plays Krapp's Last Tape and Endgame, his only film venture, and the late story "The Lost Ones," she shows that through a variety of double-voiced techniques -- irony, parody, and satire -- Beckett also brings a powerful critical light to bear upon our culture's repeated attempts to reduce or eliminate the more problematic aspects of existence and even mocks our desire to do so. His disquieting and occasionally uproarious interweaving of contradictory perspectives -- somber and carnivalized, established and contestory -- suggests that suffering and anguish are fundamental to life, while it affirms their relation to laughter and creative vigor within a richer, if less settled, cultural context.

Drawing upon the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, and particularly Bakhtin, Henning argues that Beckett's profound critique of Western intellectual tradition does not necessarily entail the loss of all positive values and beliefs. On the contrary, his use of carnivalesque and dialogized modes signals a revitalizing capacity that has not been fully appreciated.

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Becoming a French Aristocrat

The Education of the Court Nobility, 1580-1715

Mark Edward Motley

Focusing on the highest-ranking segment of the nobility, Mark Motley examines why a social group whose very essence was based on hereditary status would need or seek instruction and training for its young. As the "warrior nobility" adopted the courtly life epitomized by Versailles--with its code of etiquette and sensitivity to language and demeanor--education became more than a vehicle for professional training. Education, Motley argues, played both the conservative role of promoting assertions of "natural" superiority appropriate to a hereditary aristocracy, and the more dynamic role of fostering cultural changes that helped it maintain its power in a changing world.

Based on such sources as family papers and correspondence, memoirs, and pedagogical treatises, this book explores education as it took place in the household, in secondary schools and riding academies, and at court and in the army. It shows how such education combined deference and solidarity, language and knowledge, and ceremonial behavior and festive disorder. In so doing, this work contends that education was an integral part of the aristocracy's response to absolutism in the French monarchy.

Originally published in 1990.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

restricted access This search result is for a Book

Becoming a Revolutionary

The Deputies of the French National Assembly and the Emergence of a Revolutionary Culture (1789-1790)

Timothy Tackett

Here Timothy Tackett tests some of the diverse explanations of the origins of the French Revolution by examining the psychological itineraries of the individuals who launched it--the deputies of the Estates General and the National Assembly. Based on a wide variety of sources, notably the letters and diaries of over a hundred deputies, the book assesses their collective biographies and their cultural and political experience before and after 1789. In the face of the current "revisionist" orthodoxy, it argues that members of the Third Estate differed dramatically from the Nobility in wealth, status, and culture.

Virtually all deputies were familiar with some elements of the Enlightenment, yet little evidence can be found before the Revolution of a coherent oppositional "ideology" or "discourse." Far from the inexperienced ideologues depicted by the revisionists, the Third Estate deputies emerge as practical men, more attracted to law, history, and science than to abstract philosophy. Insofar as they received advance instruction in the possibility of extensive reform, it came less from reading books than from involvement in municipal and regional politics and from the actions and decrees of the monarchy itself. Before their arrival in Versailles, few deputies envisioned changes that could be construed as "Revolutionary." Such new ideas emerged primarily in the process of the Assembly itself and continued to develop, in many cases, throughout the first year of the Revolution.

Originally published in 1996.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Becoming Bourgeois

Love, Kinship, and Power in Provincial France, 1670–1880

by Christopher H. Johnson

Becoming Bourgeois traces the fortunes of three French families in the municipality of Vannes, in Brittany—Galles, Jollivet, and Le Ridant—who rose to prominence in publishing, law, the military, public administration, and intellectual pursuits over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Revisiting complex issues of bourgeois class formation from the perspective of the interior lives of families, Christopher H. Johnson argues that the most durable and socially advantageous links forging bourgeois ascent were those of kinship. Economic success, though certainly derived from the virtues of hard work and intelligent management, was always underpinned by marriage strategies and the diligent intervention of influential family members.

Johnson's examination of hundreds of personal letters opens up a whole world: the vicissitudes of courtship; the centrality of marriage; the depths of conjugal love; the routines of pregnancy and the drama of childbirth; the practices of child rearing and education; the powerful place of siblings; the role of kin in advancing the next generation; tragedy and deaths; the enormous contributions of women in all aspects of becoming bourgeois; and the pleasures of gathering together in intimate soirées, grand balls, country houses, and civic and political organizations. Family love bound it all together, and this is ultimately what this book is about, as four generations of rather ordinary provincial people capture our hearts.

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Becoming French

Mapping the Geographies of French Identity, 1871-1914

Dana Kristofor Lindaman

Becoming French explores the geographical shift that occurs in French society during the first four decades of France's Third Republic government. Dana Kristofor Lindaman provides the historical context that led to the explosion of geographic interest at the end of the nineteenth century, exploring the ways that the work of the geographers Paul Vidal de la Blache and Élisée Reclus served as a conceptual basis for abstract notions of the nation such as la Patrie. Lindaman then uses Reclus's formulation of the earth as "une organisme terrestre" (terrestrial organism) to read Jules Verne's Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth) as a journey to the center of the individual self. Finally, he traces the geographic narrative of G. Bruno's Tour de la France par deux enfants, in particular the way that Bruno's work incorporates the geographic thought of Vidal de la Blache, to discover the organic ties that bind readers through the shared experience of reading the text.

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