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Narrating France: historians and the making of French national past 1715-1830

D'Auria, M; (2012) Narrating France: historians and the making of French national past 1715-1830. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the rise of nationalist narratives in France between the late seventeenth century and the 1830 revolution. It does so by adopting the enthnosymbolist approach and focusing on the role of historians in reshaping memories, symbols, and values of social groups in their claim of ‘representing’ the nation. Starting from a study of the royalist cult and its national narrative, it shows how historians identified the history of France with the king’s immortal body. Out of the royalist cult, and in opposition to it, stemmed discursive groups contesting the king’s identification with the nation. The thesis focuses on two of such groups.Considering these to be what Anthony D. Smith calls ‘ethnies’, it shows how historian reshaped their past on the claim that it presented the true history of France. The thesis also highlights, through the debates surrounding ‘race’, ‘national character’ and ‘class’, how these, rather than being abstract political concepts, where actually discourses about ‘identities’, laden with emotional meaning. Relating, in debates of the time, major and lesser known authors, the thesis analyses the ideas of three major historians of the period, Boulainvilliers, Montesquieu and Augustin Thierry, all of whom had a fundamental role in shaping ‘race’, ‘national character’ and ‘class’ and, moreover, had a fundamental role in the debate on the origins of the French nation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Narrating France: historians and the making of French national past 1715-1830
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1358179
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