For the soul of France : culture wars in the age of Dreyfus / Frederick Brown.

By: Brown, Frederick, 1934-Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2010Edition: 1st edDescription: xxv, 304 pages : illustrations ; 25 cmContent type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780307266316; 0307266311; 9780307279217; 0307279219Subject(s): France -- History -- Third Republic, 1870-1940 | France -- Civilization -- 19th century | Nationalism -- France -- History -- 19th century | Secularism -- France -- History -- 19th century | Church and state -- France -- History -- 19th century | National characteristics, French | Church and state | Civilization | National characteristics, French | Nationalism | Secularism | France | Nationalismus | Säkularismus | Dreyfusaffäre | Frankreich | Dreyfusaffäre | Säkularismus | Nationalismus | Frankreich | Dreyfusaffären 1894-1906 | Sekularism -- historia -- Frankrike -- 1870-1914 | Nationalism -- historia -- Frankrike -- 1870-1914 | Frankrike -- kultur- och samhällsliv -- historia -- 1870-1914 | CHR 2010 | PRO Beitler, Lorraine (donor) (Dreyfus Collection copy 2) | Geschichte 1870-1900 | 1800-1940Genre/Form: History.DDC classification: 944.081 LOC classification: DC337 | .B68 2010
Contents:
From The life of Jesus to the Sacré-Coeur -- Birth pangs of a secular republic -- The crash of the Union Générale -- France on horse -- The ogre of modernity : Eiffel's tower -- The Panama scandal -- The Dreyfus affair -- The burning of the charity bazaar -- Two banquets.
Summary: Cultural historian Frederick Brown provides a portrait of fin-de-sic̈le France, whose defeat by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 resulted in a virtual civil war, waged without restraint, which toppled Napoléon III, crushed the Paris Commune, and provoked a dangerous nationalism that gripped the Republic. In the face of humiliation by Prussia, postwar France dissolved into two cultural factions: moderates, proponents of a secular state, and reactionaries--militant, Catholic, royalist--who felt that France had suffered defeat for having betrayed its true faith. A bitter debate took hold of the heart and soul of the country, framed by the vision of "science" and "technological advancement" versus "supernatural intervention." The roiling conflicts that began thirty years before Dreyfus did not end with his exoneration in 1900--instead they became the festering point that led to France's surrender to Hitler's armies in 1940.--From publisher description.
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DC337 .B68 2010 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002330132

Includes bibliographical references (pages 269-281) and index.

Cultural historian Frederick Brown provides a portrait of fin-de-sic̈le France, whose defeat by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 resulted in a virtual civil war, waged without restraint, which toppled Napoléon III, crushed the Paris Commune, and provoked a dangerous nationalism that gripped the Republic. In the face of humiliation by Prussia, postwar France dissolved into two cultural factions: moderates, proponents of a secular state, and reactionaries--militant, Catholic, royalist--who felt that France had suffered defeat for having betrayed its true faith. A bitter debate took hold of the heart and soul of the country, framed by the vision of "science" and "technological advancement" versus "supernatural intervention." The roiling conflicts that began thirty years before Dreyfus did not end with his exoneration in 1900--instead they became the festering point that led to France's surrender to Hitler's armies in 1940.--From publisher description.

From The life of Jesus to the Sacré-Coeur -- Birth pangs of a secular republic -- The crash of the Union Générale -- France on horse -- The ogre of modernity : Eiffel's tower -- The Panama scandal -- The Dreyfus affair -- The burning of the charity bazaar -- Two banquets.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In this richly illustrated volume, Brown (Flaubert: A Biography), a prize-winning scholar of French literature, seeks to recount the mood and mindset of fin de siecle France by examining a series of key events, incidents, and episodes that reveal and reflect the ideological rifts that gripped the nation in the last three decades of the 19th century. Brown identifies the culture wars as contests between secularism and religiosity, science and superstition, enlightenment and salvation, modernism and tradition, cosmopolitanism and nationalism. He demonstrates how the battle lines were drawn, how particular events exacerbated them, and how certain individuals and groups exploited them. Using examples both well known (the coopting of the legend of Joan of Arc) and not so well known (the story of the Charity Bazaar martyrs of 1897), he brilliantly explains how the cultural divides that culminated in the Dreyfus affair had deep roots. For decades prior to the 1890s, conservatives and antirepublicans, he argues, had come to believe that the true France was under siege from alien forces-Jews foremost among them. VERDICT An important work of cultural and intellectual history, recommended for all informed readers in French history.-Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Brown roughly construes the "age of Dreyfus" to be the history of the Third French Republic from defeat at Prussian hands in 1870 to the separation of church and state in 1905, although an introductory chapter offers a succinct review of key events in the 19th century. Dreyfus was a young army officer whose dubious conviction for treason in 1894 became increasingly elevated to a cultural and political crisis that sharply divided the nation. Dreyfus's guilt or innocence provoked the reemergence of old antagonisms, often in new guises. Anti-Semitism, a refashioned Right, nationalism, individual rights, anticlericalism, and many more points of contest were sharply defined. Brown's study, for general readers, covers several major issues and developments in addition to Dreyfus, including the Paris Commune of 1871, the establishment of the Republic, General Boulanger's abortive and derisive effort to slay the Republic, the Panama scandal, and the hostility that greeted the construction and retention of the Eiffel Tower. Brown has written biographies of celebrated writers Flaubert and Zola and here creates a very accessible narrative of this "age." The selected quotations, especially from figures on the Right, are remarkable. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General and undergraduate collections. N. Greene Wesleyan University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Frederick Brown is the author of Flaubert , which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, and Zola , named an Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of the year. Brown has twice been the recipient of both Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. He lives in New York City.

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