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The proverb vox populi, vox Dei first appeared in a work by Alcuin (ca. 798), who wrote that "the people [] are to be led, not followed. [] Nor are those to be listened to who are accustomed to say, 'The voice of the people is the voice of God.'" Tracing the changing meaning of the saying through European history, George Boas finds that "the people" are not an easily identifiable group. For many centuries the butt of jokes and the substance of comic relief in serious drama, the people became in time an object of pity and, later, of aesthetic appeal. Popular opinion, despised in ancient Rome, was something sought, after the French Revolution. The first essay documents the use of the titular proverb through the eighteenth century. In the next six essays, Boas attempts to determine who the people were and how writers and philosophers have regarded them throughout history. He also examines the people as the creators of literature, art, and music, and as the subject of others' artistic representations. In a final essay, he discusses egalitarianism, which has given a voice to the common person. Animating Boas's account is his own belief in the importance of the individual's voice—as opposed to the voice of the masses, which is by no means necessarily that of God or reason.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. New Copyright
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  1. Half Title
  2. p. i
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  1. Series Page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Frontispiece
  2. p. iv
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  1. Title Page
  2. p. v
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  1. Copyright
  2. p. vi
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  1. Dedication
  2. p. vii
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  1. Contents
  2. p. ix
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. p. x
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  1. Publisher’s Note
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Apologia
  2. pp. xiii-xv
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  1. Half Title 1
  2. p. 1
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  1. I. The Proverb’s Annals
  2. pp. 3-38
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  1. II. Who Are the People?
  2. pp. 39-70
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  1. III. The People in Literature
  2. pp. 72-111
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  1. IV. The People as Poet
  2. pp. 112-142
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  1. V. The People in Art
  2. pp. 143-179
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  1. VI. The People as Artist
  2. pp. 195-217
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  1. VII. The People as Musician
  2. pp. 218-247
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  1. VIII. Egalitarianism
  2. pp. 248-277
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  1. Photo 1
  2. p. 180
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  1. Photo 2
  2. p. 181
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  1. Photo 3
  2. p. 182
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  1. Photo 4
  2. p. 183
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  1. Photo 5
  2. p. 184
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  1. Photo 6
  2. p. 185
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  1. Photo 7
  2. p. 186
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  1. Photo 8
  2. p. 187
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  1. Photo 9
  2. p. 188
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  1. Photo 10
  2. p. 189
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  1. Photo 11
  2. p. 190
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  1. Photo 12
  2. p. 191
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  1. Photo 13
  2. p. 192
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  1. Photo 14
  2. p. 193
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 278-286
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 287-292
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781421435053
Related ISBN
9781421435046
MARC Record
OCLC
1131890685
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Funder
Mellon/NEH / Hopkins Open Publishing: Encore Editions
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-ND
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