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French Historical Studies 27.4 (2004) 723
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The Work of Daniel Roche Introduction
If the principal commitment of French Historical Studies is to the publication of new research and ongoing historical debates, it would also seem appropriate that FHS present occasional retrospective appraisals of the work of contemporary scholars who have most strongly marked the field of French history. No historian of the early modern period is more deserving of such a tribute than Daniel Roche. In over two hundred publications—books, articles, essays, chapters, and introductions—appearing from the late 1950s into the first decade of the twenty-first century, Roche has explored a remarkable breadth of subjects, touching on virtually every aspect of the social and cultural history of France and of Europe under the Old Regime. He has demonstrated unusual talents for tracking down the links between the microcosm and the macrocosm, between material experience and mentalités, and for disentangling the complex interplay of economic, social, and cultural transformations that marked the end of the early modern era. His influence can also be measured by his close, thirty-year association with the Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine and by his impact on several generations of students at the Sorbonne, the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the European University Institute, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and—since 1998—the Collège de France.
To reflect on the career and work of Daniel Roche, four eminent historians of eighteenth-century France were brought together at the Thirty-first Annual Meeting of the Western Society for French History, organized by the University of California, Irvine, in October 2003. Each contributor was asked to reflect on a different aspect of Roche's production. In the following pages we publish these commentaries, followed by the reactions and musings of Daniel Roche himself.