The Bastille: A History of a Symbol of Despotism and Freedom / Edition 1

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Overview


This book is both an analysis of the Bastille as cultural paradigm and a case study on the history of French political culture. It examines in particular the storming and subsequent fall of the Bastille in Paris on July 14, 1789 and how it came to represent the cornerstone of the French Revolution, becoming a symbol of the repression of the Old Regime. Lüsebrink and Reichardt use this semiotic reading of the Bastille to reveal how historical symbols are generated; what these symbols’ functions are in the collective memory of societies; and how they are used by social, political, and ideological groups.
To facilitate the symbolic nature of the investigation, this analysis of the evolving signification of the Bastille moves from the French Revolution to the nineteenth century to contemporary history. The narrative also shifts from France to other cultural arenas, like the modern European colonial sphere, where the overthrow of the Bastille acquired radical new signification in the decolonization period of the 1940s and 1950s. The Bastille demonstrates the potency of the interdisciplinary historical research that has characterized the end of this century, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, and taking its methodological tools from history, sociology, linguistics, and cultural and literary studies.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Offers an analysis of the Bastille as cultural paradigm and a case study of the history of French political culture. Examines in particular the storming and subsequent fall of the Bastille in Paris on July 14, 1789, and how it came to represent the cornerstone of the French Revolution as a symbol of the repression of the Old Regime. Investigates how historical symbols are generated, the functions of such symbols in the collective memory of societies, and how they are used by social, political, and ideological groups. Discussion moves from the French revolution to the 19th century to contemporary history, and from France to other arenas. Includes b&w photos and illustrations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822318941
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Series: Bicentennial Reflections on the French Revolution
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,307,575
  • Lexile: 1690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.67 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink is chair of French Cultural Studies and Intercultural Communication at the Universität des Saarlandes, Germany. Rolf Reichardt is head of the scholarly reference department, Universität Mainz, Germany.

Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink is chair of French Cultural Studies and Intercultural Communication at the Universität des Saarlandes, Germany. Rolf Reichardt is head of the scholarly reference department, Universität Mainz, Germany.

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Table of Contents

Editors' Introduction
Preface
Translator's Note
Introduction 1
1 Genesis of a Political Symbol: The Bastille, 1715-1789 6
Anti-Bastille Journalism: Scandalous Stories of Prisoners 6
The Reality-Forming Power of the Symbolic: Prison Practice versus Social Consciousness 26
2 The Storming of the Bastille: The Historical Event as Collective Symbolic Action 38
The Storming of the Bastille: Causes and Process 38
How a Decisive Event in World History Is "Made": The Symbolic Exaggeration of 14 July 1789 47
3 Revolutionary Symbolism under the Sign of the Bastille, 1789-1799: A Prime Example of the Self-Mystification of the French Revolution 79
Radicalization and Diversification of a Collective Symbol 79
The New Heroes: The Role-Model Function and Self-Staging of the Victors of the Bastille 86
Martyrs of Freedom, Victims of Despotism: The Triumph of the Prisoners of the Bastille 106
"The Patriot" Palloy: Conqueror of the Bastille and Vulgarizer 118
The Patriotic Cult of Relics: The Staging of the Bastille Stones in Paris and in the French Provinces 131
The Symbolic Foundation of National Identity: Festivals, Speeches, and Monuments Commemorating 14 July 1789 147
Revolutionary Activism under the Sign of the Bastille 169
Echo and Export of Bastille Symbolism Abroad: Germany as a Significant Example 181
4 Bastille Symbolism in Modern France: The Republican Legacy of the French Revolution 205
Heroic Martyrs of Freedom in History and Literature 205
The Storming of the Bastille: A National Act of Faith 212
Utilizations in Domestic Politics: From the July Revolution to the Resistance 220
Final Remarks: On the Origin and Function of a Historical Symbol 241
Appendix Reports on the Storming of the Bastille, 1789 247
Notes 251
Works Cited 287
Index 297
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