French History - current issue
13 Nov 2016
  • The new princess of Saxony: Paris, imposture, and secret marriage in the seventeenth century

    A sham wedding in 1672, between a noble widow from Saintonge and the Prince of Saxony, opens a new way of looking at clandestine marriage in the seventeenth century. This article re-examines the effect of royal legislation regulating marriage, explores the literary and salon culture of Paris as it may have encouraged secret marriage, and speculates on the treatment the widow’s false groom might have received according to the law.

  • Saint Genevieves miracles: art and religion in eighteenth-century Paris

    This art-historical study of Saint Geneviève’s miracles explores an alternative path through France’s histories of religion and secularization. The article follows four objects—the saint’s relics, two paintings, and the building which became the Panthéon—across four moments in the city’s history, from the jubilant procession of her miraculous relics in 1694, to their public burning in 1793 during the Revolution. But far from articulating the familiar story from religious triumph to demise, this material investigation of rituals and ex-votos poses a challenge to grand narratives of progressive secularization and the mythical place of the Revolution in the birth of France’s secularist modernity. The vastly underexplored terrain of eighteenth-century religious art here tempers dominant narratives by tracing different experiences of religion through the lives of these often contested objects. Their use, reuse, transformations and appropriations reveal not religious decline, but shifting devotional practices and changing relationships with religious ideas and institutions.

  • Republicanism in the age of commerce and revolutions: Bareres reading of Montesquieu

    This article examines Bertrand Barère’s Montesquieu peint d’après ses ouvrages (1797) within the context of the speculations on the future of modernity in the political thought of the eighteenth century and the French Revolution. Broadly, Barère’s work contained three arguments: Montesquieu had been a covert republican forced to conceal his candid thoughts; Montesquieu had been wrong to despair about the future of large republics; The Spirit of Laws needed to be used as a guide for the political leaders of the French First Republic. Rescued from the narrow context of political intentions and placed in a wider intellectual context, Barère’s critical reading of Montesquieu demonstrates the importance of the notions of military dictatorship and commercial capacity in revolutionary political thought.

  • Financing a new order: the payment of reparations by Restoration France, 1817-18

    The French lost the Napoleonic wars, but they won the peace, for themselves and for Europe more generally, when they fulfilled the terms imposed by the victorious allies. To raise the money required to meet these obligations, the French resorted to borrowing, floating loans that were foundational in the history of French public debt. Despite their importance, these loans have received little recent attention. This article draws on previously unused documents to provide a fuller picture of the negotiations that produced the loans of 1817–18. More particularly, it suggests that, contrary to a widespread perception, the loans were financed largely with French capital. Furthermore, it argues that historians have exaggerated the importance of Gabriel-Julien Ouvrard, the French government’s intermediary with the issuing firms, in facilitating the loan negotiations. Given the consequences of the loans, the negotiations that produced them deserve more extensive consideration than they have hitherto received.

  • Cohabitation and opportunistic accommodation in Occupied France: a test case from the Western Pyrenees

    This article gives agency to Robert Gildea’s concept of cohabitation and Philippe Burrin’s notion of accommodation through a mediated reconstruction of experiences recounted in the dossiers of an exiled Spanish Republican and a pro-German farmer in the Basses-Pyrénées. 1 The article illustrates the diverse ways in which certain French Basque, German and Spanish individuals became embroiled in a complex web of social relationships during the Occupation. Their relationships were full of ambiguity, duplicity, opportunism, conflict and intrigue. Their story is told from the post-Liberation perspectives of late 1944 and 1945, when the police and the judiciary gathered most of the evidence against them, and 1946, when the Spaniard faced the court of justice.

  • Versailles: Histoire, Dictionnaire et Anthologie
  • A la place du roi: vice-rois, gouverneurs et ambassadeurs dans les monarchies francaises et espagnoles (XVIe-XVIIIe siecles)
  • Maitres de leurs ouvrages: ledition a compte dauteur a Paris au XVIIIe siecle
  • The Dynamics of Gender in Early Modern France: Women Writ, Women Writing
  • Memoirs of Mademoiselle de Montpensier (La Grande Mademoiselle)
  • Les espions des lumieres. Actions secretes et espionnage militaire sous Louis XV
  • Robespierre; la fabrication dun monstre
  • Missionnaires de la Republique. Les Representants du peuple en mission (1793-1795)
  • Non-Violence and the French Revolution: Political Demonstrations in Paris, 1787-1795
  • Cartophilia. Maps and the Search for Identity in the French-German Borderland
  • Une histoire sociale de la reforme electorale sous la Troisieme Republique. Mobilisations politiques et expertise electorale: la question de la 'representation proportionnelle
  • Jewish Youth and Identity in Postwar France: Rebuilding Family and Nation
  • A Divided Republic: Nation, State and Citizenship in Contemporary France
  • Operation Freak: Narrative, Identity and the Spectrum of Bodily Abilities in Francophone Literature
  • Free Trade and Its Enemies in France, 1814-1851
  • Kings of the Air: French Aces and Airmen of the Great War
  • France and Fascism: February 1934 and the Dynamics of Political Crisis
  • SSFH Society News