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Essays in reform on the eve of Revolution: the Academy of Chalons-sur-Marne, 1776-1789

Spurlock, J D; (1993) Essays in reform on the eve of Revolution: the Academy of Chalons-sur-Marne, 1776-1789. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis recounts the history of the Academy of Chalons-sur-Marne and its use of its privilege as a royal academy to hold essay contests to promote public discussion of France's social and economic structures and the Crown's recent attempts to reform them. A study of the public and private activities of the Academy, it grants insight into the revolutionary education of both the academicians and their public. It seeks to understand the process whereby those without legitimate political voice considered themselves summoned by this academy to express their views and then analyzes the texts which were for many a first written formulation of political opinion. It surveys the Academy's success in attracting public interest in its competitions and shows how this proved prejudicial to its survival and that of the reforms its essay contests had been designed to support. The Chalons contests provoked essays from across the social and geographic spectrum. They constitute a significant sample of literate opinion on the eve of the Revolution and provide, along with the Academy's correspondence with Crown ministers, 14,000 pages of primary source material for this study. Chapter one sets the context with an overview of French academies and the Crown's intentions in founding them. Chapter two surveys the Chalons Academy's history and its relationship to the movement for reform. Chapter three profiles its essay competitors; chapters four and five analyze its competition essays on the begging and labouring poor. Chapter six summarizes the reception given its contests by the public and government and considers their response to the questions announced after the first contest. Chapter seven recounts the government's censorship of the Academy's activities and the response it evoked. The thesis concludes with an assessment of the influence of the Chalons Academy and its competitions on the events of the Revolution.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Essays in reform on the eve of Revolution: the Academy of Chalons-sur-Marne, 1776-1789
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10048148
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