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Lecture: Defining France 2 (Nation, History, Language)

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HIST 390
Margaret Carlyle

Lecture: Defining France 2 (Nation, History, Language) January 17, 2013 Eugene Weber (author of reading) • 1925-2007 • pragmatic, practical historian, working very closely with the documents in a detective-style approach • "Peasants into Frenchmen" • "Apocalypses" ◦ different religions were joined by an absolute belief in the end of time • lots of sweeping studies David Bell (author of reading) • still alive • "Lawyers and Citizens: the Making of a Political Elite in Old Regime France" ◦ account of middling figures (the judiciary lawyer class) • "The Cult of the Nation in France" • lots of details and archival sources Concepts of "Nation" and myths of origin • who were the French? • sense of nation? ◦ in terms of birth or ethnic group ◦ français de nation, alludes to concepts of a larger community • "nation" and political discourse (Bell) ◦ "patrie" • "nation" and "taxation" (Revel) ◦ monarchy wants to know its territory for tax purposes • communications and public sphere French Revolution and "nation" (Bell) • F.R. crowns process of "Nation" • "patrie" ◦ fatherland or homeland ◦ supplants the relationship people have to the Church and their local parish • national education ◦ pre-revolution: Church and Jesuits take care of education ◦ post-revolution: committee on Education and Church no longer controls it • political debates ◦ talking about a constitution, a declaration (of rights of man and citizen) Myth-making and "nation" • myths have root in truth • ideology • myth of origins ◦ Aeneas for Rome ◦ Brutus of Troy for Britain • claim to "original" status ◦ i.e. the Gauls in Europe ▪ people think France needs to get back to its Gaulish roots ▪ Audigier writes that the Gauls were the origins of the Vandals, the Brits, etc. Nation (Latin natio) • 12th-13thC: birth, extraction, rank, family, lineage, race, group • university of Paris has "quatre nations" (Anglais, Picards, Normands, Français 1470) Nation • Antoine Furetière (1690): nation is a group of people inhabiting an enclosed patch of land under certain limits and a common rule • Académie Française: inhabitants of same state, living according to same laws, employ and appropriate the same language Gauls and Franks • Celts (Gauls/Britons) vs. German (Franks/Angles) ◦ Celts already established in France, then the Romans come in, blending to make the omano-Gallic tradition • Celts predate Romans; omano-Gallic • Franks spread 5thC CE • Merovingians and Carolingians = Franks (two different dynasties) • Notion of two "races" ◦ the conqueror (Franks) ◦ the conquered (Gauls, blended tradition) ▪ oppressed, subjected to the yoke (joug) • reign of Clovis (one of the first Frankish kings ruling over Gaul) Gauls and Franks: Revolut
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