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by Keith Michael Baker

Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century

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Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century


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In this volume, Keith Baker, arguably the leading expert writing in English on the ideological origins of the French Revolution, collects together a range of his essays on this subject published in journals in recent years. The essays include historiographical studies of the treatment of the topic by French and other historians as well as important case studies on the poli
In this volume, Keith Baker, arguably the leading expert writing in English on the ideological origins of the French Revolution, collects together a range of his essays on this subject published in journals in recent years. The essays include historiographical studies of the treatment of the topic by French and other historians as well as important case studies on the political vocabularies characteristic of the ancien regime and the revolutionary periods. The result is a substantial and unified set of studies on one of the central themes in modern European history.
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Hardcover, 382 pages
Published
January 26th 1990
by Cambridge University Press


(first published 1990)

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Original Title
Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Ideas in Context)

ISBN
0521346185
(ISBN13: 9780521346184)

Edition Language
English

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Shane Avery

Aug 07, 2010

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Shelves:
non-fiction

In a nutshell:

“there can be little doubt that the competing representations of the French past considered in the present essay were highly charged political actions, mobilizing the resources of a more or less common set of documentary materials for the explicit purposes of ideological struggle. Taken together, they suggest — and indeed they respond to — a process of political contestation much more intense and complex than many historians interested in the ideological origins of the French Rev
In a nutshell:

“there can be little doubt that the competing representations of the French past considered in the present essay were highly charged political actions, mobilizing the resources of a more or less common set of documentary materials for the explicit purposes of ideological struggle. Taken together, they suggest — and indeed they respond to — a process of political contestation much more intense and complex than many historians interested in the ideological origins of the French Revolution have been willing to acknowledge. Each … addressed the fundamental political question: that of the nature and conditions of existence of the body politic.” (57)

Herein, Baker does an impressive job looking at competing discourses and the attempts by his subjects to control working-definitions of meaning in pre- Revolutionary France. Also herein, he does a horrific job trying to sketch a jargon-laced theory that reduces the experience of human beings to “symbolic fields of discourse,” an idea so patently absurd it need not be engaged. In attempting to overthrow vulgar Marxist historiography, Baker creates something equally, if not more, vulgar. It’s ironic that he owes his understanding of ideology to the Marxist lexicon.
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Jonathan

Feb 03, 2009

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Shelves:
18th-century-france ,
academic-reading-and-research

For most readers, pretty much everything important is in the first two chapters. The approach is the important thing here.

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About Keith Michael Baker

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Books by Keith Michael Baker

University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, Volume 7: The Old Regime and the French Revolution
What’s Left of Enlightenment?: A Postmodern Question
Scripting Revolution: A Historical Approach to the Comparative Study of Revolutions
The French Revolution And The Creation Of Modern Political Culture
Condorcet: From Natural Philosophy To Social Mathematics

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