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Area and Ethnic Studies > French Studies
The Dream of a House in France
In one of the most beautiful river valleys in Europe, in the region known as Périgord in southwest France, castles crown the hills, and the surrounding villages seem carved all of a piece out of the local stone. In 1985, in the shadow of one of these medieval castles, Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden fell in love with a small stone house that became their summer home.
Like any romance, this one has had its ups and downs, and Betsy and Michael chart its course in this delightful memoir. They offer an intimate glimpse of a region little known to Americans—the Dordogne valley, its castles and prehistoric art, its walking trails and earthy cuisine—and describe the charms and mishaps of setting up housekeeping thousands of miles from home.
Along with the region’s terrain and culture, A Castle in the Backyard introduces us to the people of Périgord—the castle’s proprietor, the village children, the gossipy real-estate agent, the rascally mason, and the ninety-year-old widow with a tale of heartbreak. A celebration of a place and its people, the book also reflects on the future of historic Périgord as tourism and development pose a challenge to its graceful way of life.
Toulouse Observed, 1738-1780
From public executions to religious processions to political festivities, Toulouse's ceremonial life was remarkably rich in the decades prior to the French Revolution. In an engaging portrait that conveys this provincial city in all its splendor and misery, Robert Schneider explores how Toulouse's civic and community life was represented in the stagings of various ceremonies. His inquiry is based on the unpublished diaries of Pierre Barthès, a Latin tutor who was both a devout Catholic and a monarchist, and who recorded forty years of public activity in ways that reflected the mounting social tensions of his times. By analyzing Barthès's accounts, Schneider demonstrates how the variety of ceremonial forms embodied different ritual dynamics and represented contrasting values.
The author focuses most intently on the differences between the solemn religious procession, which was highly participatory and represented local concerns, and the more celebratory festival, which vaunted the monarchy and turned the people into passive spectators. He examines the theatrical nature of often hastily orchestrated religious parades winding through neighborhood streets, then considers the monarchy's use of plazas for staged entertainment, particularly for awe-inspiring displays of fireworks. Schneider argues that the festival proved a successful tool in imposing the symbols of the centralized state on Toulouse's public life, but that both the procession and the festival incorporated powerful ceremonial forms that proved politically useful for the Revolution.
French Security Policy and Gaullist Legacy
As France begins to confront the new challenges of the post-Cold War era, the time has come to examine how French security policy has evolved since Charles de Gaulle set it on an independent course in the 1960s. Philip Gordon shows that the Gaullist model, contrary to widely held beliefs, has lived on--but that its inherent inconsistencies have grown more acute with increasing European unification, the diminishing American military role in Europe, and related strains on French military budgets. The question today is whether the Gaullist legacy will enable a strong and confident France to play a full role in Europe's new security arrangements or whether France, because of its will to independence, is destined to play an isolated, national role.
Gordon analyzes military doctrines, strategies, and budgets from the 1960s to the 1990s, and also the evolution of French policy from the early debates about NATO and the European Community to the Persian Gulf War. He reveals how and why Gaullist ideas have for so long influenced French security policy and examines possible new directions for France in an increasingly united but potentially unstable Europe.
While Victor Hugo's lasting appeal as a novelist can in large part be attributed to the unforgettable characters that he created, character has been paradoxically the most criticized and least understood element of his fiction. Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo provides readers with a deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances that characterize both Hugo's novel writing and the nineteenth-century French novel, and will thus appeal to the specialist and non-specialist alike.
Charcot in Morocco is the first-ever publication of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot’s travel diary of his 1887 trip to Morocco. Considered the father of neuropathology, Charcot (1825–1893) is a seminal character in the history of neurology and psychology. His Moroccan travel diary includes his “objective” observations of the local Jewish community, which only fortified his assumptions about the relationship between race and neuropathology. These became a conspicuous feature of his ideas about the hereditary origins of nervous ailments. His ideas – taught as doctrine to a vast audience, including a young Sigmund Freud – reveal the convergence of clinical observation and European anti-Semitism at the end of the nineteenth century.
Including an enlightening critical introduction by renowned Charcot expert Toby Gelfand, Charcot in Morocco provides new insights into the personality of this influential figure and his perspectives on the “Orient” and its inhabitants.
By exploring how children and their families became unprecedented objects of governmental policy in the early decades of France's Third Republic, Sylvia Schafer offers a fresh perspective on the self-fashioning of a new governmental order. In the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, social reformers claimed that children were increasingly the victims of their parents' immorality. Schafer examines how government officials codified these claims in the period between 1871 and 1914 and made the moral status of the family the focus of new kinds of legislative, juridical, and administrative action. Although the debate on moral danger in the family helped to articulate the young republic's claim to moral authority in the metaphors of parenthood, the definition of "moral endangerment" remained ambiguous. Schafer shows how public authorities reshaped their agenda and varied their remedies as their schemes for protecting morally endangered children broke down under the enduring weight of this ambiguity.
Drawing on insights from feminist theory, literary studies, and the work of Michel Foucault, Schafer reveals the cultural complexity of civil justice and social administration in both their formal and everyday incarnations. In demonstrating the centrality of ambivalence as a condition of liberal government and governmental representations, she fundamentally recasts the history of the early Third Republic and, more widely, issues a powerful challenge to conventional views of the modern state and its history.
Originally published in 1997.
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.
In Christine de Pizan and the Fight for France, Tracy Adams offers a reevaluation of Christine de Pizan’s literary engagement with contemporary politics. Adams locates Christine’s works within a detailed narrative of the complex history of the dispute between the Burgundians and the Armagnacs, the two largest political factions in fifteenth-century France. Contrary to what many scholars have long believed, Christine consistently supported the Armagnac faction throughout her literary career and maintained strong ties to Louis of Orleans and Isabeau of Bavaria. Adams claims that Christine’s writings not only voiced support for Louis and Isabeau in opposition to John of Burgundy, but also contributed to defining kingship and creating authority in France’s turbulent political climate. In addition, Christine promoted, defended, and profoundly affected the nature of female regency as it developed in France from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Alternating between chapters focusing on the historical context of the Armagnac-Burgundian feud at different moments, and chapters offering close readings of Christine’s poetry and prose, Adams shows the ways in which the writer was closely engaged with and influenced the volatile politics of her time.
Myth, Memory, and the First World War
In late December 1914, German and British soldiers on the western front initiated a series of impromptu, unofficial ceasefires. Enlisted men across No Man's Land abandoned their trenches and crossed enemy lines to sing carols, share food and cigarettes, and even play a little soccer. Collectively known as the Christmas Truce, these fleeting moments of peace occupy a mythical place in remembrances of World War I. Yet new accounts suggest that the heartwarming tale ingrained in the popular imagination bears little resemblance to the truth.
In this detailed study, Terri Blom Crocker provides the first comprehensive analysis of both scholarly and popular portrayals of the Christmas Truce from 1914 to present. From books by influential historians to the Oscar-nominated French film Joyeux Noel (2006), this new examination shows how a variety of works have both explored and enshrined this outbreak of peace amid overwhelming violence. The vast majority of these accounts depict the soldiers as acting in defiance of their superiors. Crocker, however, analyzes official accounts as well as private letters that reveal widespread support among officers for the détentes. Furthermore, she finds that truce participants describe the temporary ceasefires not as rebellions by disaffected troops but as acts of humanity and survival by professional soldiers deeply committed to their respective causes.
The Christmas Truce studies these ceasefires within the wider war, demonstrating how generations of scholars have promoted interpretations that ignored the nuanced perspectives of the many soldiers who fought. Crocker's groundbreaking, meticulously researched work challenges conventional analyses and sheds new light on the history and popular mythology of the War to End All Wars.