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Reviewed by:
  • Francophilie et identité tchèque (1848-1914)
  • Míla Šašková-Pierce
Reznikow, Stéphane. Francophilie et identité tchèque (1848-1914). Histoire Culturelle de l’Europe N° 2. Paris: Honoré Champion, 2002. Pp. 754. ISBN2745305964

Francophilie et identité tchèque deals with years that were crucial for the political and cultural reestablishment of the Czech nation, the so called Czech National Renaissance (České národní obrození.) 1848-1918. After 1618, when the Czech Kingdom became a hereditary part of the Austrian Monarchy, and especially after Ferdinand II the Catholic secured in the bloody Thirty-Years-War the Czech throne for the Hapsburgs, Czechs hoped for political and national autonomy. In the beginning of the 19th century, the Czech intellectuals started to ask first for cultural and political rights. After the European Spring of the Nations, in which Czechs took part in the brutally suppressed Prague uprising, the Czech National Renaissance came back in force. One of its aspects was Antigermanism and Francophilia. Francophilie et identité tchèque traces the evolution of the Czech Francophilia through the romantic admiration for French revolutionary ideas and political culture at the end of the eighteen century to the multifaceted relationships on every political and cultural level in the pre-WWi Czech society.

Francophilie et identité tchèque has four parts: Part I (1848-1879; Une inscription occidentale non-allemande; four chapters), Part II (1879-1902; 1848, naissance de la francophilie; two chapters), Part III (1902 – 1914; L 'impuissance du lobby francophile; three chapters) Part IV (Une demande de la civilization française; three chapters), and a conclusion. There then follows a thorough bibliography both of primary documents and secondary works consulted. [End Page 163]

For the French side of Czech French relations, the author studied an impressive number of documents in the Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères in Paris, the diplomatic archives in Nantes, and the Municipal Archives in Paris. The Czech primary sources consulted were those of the Náprstek Museum (Czech emigration and Czechs abroad), the Prague Municipal Archives, and the Archives of the Czech Literary Museum, the National Museum, the State Central Archives and the Archives of Charles University, all in Prague. In addition the archives of the town of Jičín (Instruction of French in Czech schools and Alliance Française in the Czech Lands) and the Jesuit Archives in Rome were consulted. The secondary works cited are those of Czech and French political and cultural personalities, of first and second and even third order. In addition, there is an important bibliography of almost 200 press articles that span the period under study. This bibliography constitutes an important resource for any student of this formative period in the Czech nation's history.

The Czech and Slovak national revival movements have been the subject of many Czech studies, often encompassing a wide spectrum of political agendas. However, the French role was in need of study, especially since there is a paucity of the French assessment of the Czech National Renaissance. This book under review, therefore, constitutes a welcome addition to the field of modern Czech history.

Francophilie et identité tchèque outlines step by step how from the 1848 Spring of Nations to 1918, the year of Czechoslovak national independence, Czechs turned to France in their search for political and cultural support. In its beginnings Czech Francophilia was defined primarily as a counterpart to the Germanophobia of the Czech nationalism, however over the second-half of the 19th century France became the ideological and cultural inspiration for the Czechs. The ideals of democratic equality as expressed by the French political philosophy were yearned for by the Czechs. The nascent Czech modern literature wanted to shake off the role of an epigone of the German and Austrian literary movements. Of course, Czechs were not alone in their admiration of France; paradoxically they followed the German fascination with French writers and philosophers. From 1848 on French influence became a constant in the Czech culture. Czechs feared the emerging political Pangermanism, since the Czech Kingdom had been one of the Holy German Empire Electors and for a long time on the list for annexation to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1536-0172
Print ISSN
0146-7891
Pages
pp. 163-166
Launched on MUSE
2005-11-14
Open Access
No
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