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Realms of Memory: Symbols v. 3 : The Construction of the French Past - Pierre Nora

Realms of Memory: Symbols v. 3

The Construction of the French Past

By: Pierre Nora (Editor), Lawrence D. Kritzman (Editor), Arthur Goldhammer (Translator)

Hardcover Published: 29th April 1998
ISBN: 9780231109260
Number Of Pages: 751
For Ages: 22+ years old

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A monumental collective endevour by some of France's most distinguished intellectuals, Realms of Memory explores how and why certain places, events, and figures became a part of France's collective memory, and reveals the intricate connection between memory and history. Symbols, the third and final volume, is the culmination of the work begun in Conflicts and Divisions and Traditions. Pierre Nora inaugurates this final volume by acknowledging thatthe whole project of Realms of Memory is oriented around symbols, claiming "only a symbolic history can restore to France the unity and dynamism not recognized by either the man in the street or the academic historian." He goes on to distinguish between two very different types of symbols - imposed and constructed. Imposed symbols may be official state emblems like the tricolor flag or 'La Marsaillaise', or may be monuments like the Eiffel Tower - symbols imbued with a sense of history. COnstructes symbols are produced over the passage of time, by human effort, and by history itself.They include figures such as Joan d'Arc, Descartes, and the Gallic cock. Past I, Emblems, traces the development of four major national symbols from the time of the Revolution: the tricolor flag, the national anthem (La Marsaillaise), the motto Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" and Bastille Day. Far from having fixed identities, these representations of the French nations are shown to have undergone transformations. As French republics rose and regimes changed, the emblems of the French state - and the meanings accosiated with them - were also altered. Part II, Major Sites, focuses on those cities and structures that act as beacons of France to both Frenchman and foreigner. These essays range from the prehistory paintings in Lascaux - that cave which, though not originally French in any sense, has become the very symbol of France's immemorial national memory - to Verdun, the site of the terrible World War I battle, now a symbol of the nation's heaviest sacrifice for the "salvation of the fatehrland" and the most powerful image of French national unity. Identifications, the final section, explores the ways in which the French think of themselves. From the cock - that "rustic and quintessentially Gallic bird" - to the figures of Joan of Arc and Descartes, to the nation's twin hearts - Paris and the French language - the memory of the French people is explored. This final installment of Realms of Memory provides a major contribution not only to study the French nation and culture, but also to the study of symbols as cultural phenomena, offering, as Nora observes, "the possibility of revelation."

Industry Reviews

This is an indispensable guide to understanding France and the French. As usual, Arthur Goldhammer's translation is superb. Foreign Affairs This unusual book deals fascinatingly with everything from the creation of the rousing anthem "La Marseillaise" to the changing role of Joan of Arc in France's collective memory. Even the Eiffel Tower shines forth in surprising new facets. Chicago Tribune Provides arresting genealogies of a number of the major cleavages in French history, with chapters on the embattled relationship of Jews to the French republic, the peculiar affinities of Gaulism and Communism, and... Paris' haughty condescension toward la province... Without resorting to polemics, the volume reminds us that the image of the French past is confected as much out of amnesia as out of memory. Lingua Franca A magisterial attempt to define what it is to be French. Times Literary Supplement A magnificent achievement... [The essays included] are the high-carat jewels of the project. The New Republic

Introduction - Pierre Nora Part I: Emblems1. The Three Colors: Neither White nor Red, Raoul Girardet2. La Marseillaise: War or Peace, Michel Vovelle3. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Mona Ozouf4. Bastille Day: From Dies Irae to Holiday, Christian Almavi Part II: Major Sites1. Lascaux, Jean-Paul Demoule2. Reims, City of Coronation, Jacques Le Goff3. The Louvre, Royal Residence and Temple of the Arts, Jean-Pierre Babelon4. Versailles, the Image of the Sovereign, Edouard Pommier5. The Pantheon, The Ecole Normale of the Dead, Mona Ozouf6. The Eiffel Tower, Henry Loyette7. Verdun, Antoine Prost Part III: Identifications1. The Gallic Cock, Michael Pastoureau2. Joan of Arc, Michael Winock3. Descartes, Francois Azouvi4. Paris, A Traversal from East to West, Maurice Agulhon5. The Genius of the French Language, Marc Fumaroli6. The Era of Commemoration, Pierre Nora Notes Index of NamesIndex of Subjects

ISBN: 9780231109260
ISBN-10: 0231109261
Series: European Perspectives : Book 3
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 751
Published: 29th April 1998
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 26.04 x 19.05  x 5.08
Weight (kg): 1.59