Realms of Memory

Realms of Memory : The Construction of the French Past

3.85 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Archives, monuments, celebrations:there are not merely the recollections of memory but also the foundations of history. Symbols, the third and final volume in Pierre Nora's monumental Realms of Memory, includes groundbreaking discussions of the emblems of France's past by some of the nation's most distinguished intellectuals. The seventeen essays in this book consider such diverse "sites" of memory as the figures of Joan D'Arc and Decartes, the national motto of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", the tricolor flag and the French language itself. Pierre Nora's closing essay on commemoration provides a culminating overview of the series. Offering a new approach on history, culture, French studies and the studies of symbols, Realms of Memory reveals how the myriad meanings we attach to places and events constitute our sense of history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 643 pages
  • 190.5 x 251.46 x 40.64mm | 1,156.65g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0231106343
  • 9780231106344
  • 1,079,644

Back cover copy

Realms of Memory, the three-volume English-language edition of Pierre Nora's critically acclaimed Lieux de Memoire, translates the vicissitudes of national self-consciouness and the meanings and disjunctions associated from past events into a unique and incisive portrait of a nation.
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Table of contents

Introduction - Pierre Nora Part I: Emblems1. The Three Colors: Neither White nor Red, Raoul Girardet2. La Marseillaise: War or Peace, Michel Vovelle3. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Mona Ozouf4. Bastille Day: From Dies Irae to Holiday, Christian Almavi Part II: Major Sites1. Lascaux, Jean-Paul Demoule2. Reims, City of Coronation, Jacques Le Goff3. The Louvre, Royal Residence and Temple of the Arts, Jean-Pierre Babelon4. Versailles, the Image of the Sovereign, Edouard Pommier5. The Pantheon, The Ecole Normale of the Dead, Mona Ozouf6. The Eiffel Tower, Henry Loyette7. Verdun, Antoine Prost Part III: Identifications1. The Gallic Cock, Michael Pastoureau2. Joan of Arc, Michael Winock3. Descartes, Francois Azouvi4. Paris, A Traversal from East to West, Maurice Agulhon5. The Genius of the French Language, Marc Fumaroli6. The Era of Commemoration, Pierre Nora Notes Index of NamesIndex of Subjects
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Review quote

This is an indispensable guide to understanding France and the French. As usual, Arthur Goldhammer's translation is superb. Foreign Affairs This unusual book deals fascinatingly with everything from the creation of the rousing anthem "La Marseillaise" to the changing role of Joan of Arc in France's collective memory. Even the Eiffel Tower shines forth in surprising new facets. Chicago Tribune Provides arresting genealogies of a number of the major cleavages in French history, with chapters on the embattled relationship of Jews to the French republic, the peculiar affinities of Gaulism and Communism, and... Paris' haughty condescension toward la province... Without resorting to polemics, the volume reminds us that the image of the French past is confected as much out of amnesia as out of memory. Lingua Franca A magisterial attempt to define what it is to be French. Times Literary Supplement A magnificent achievement... [The essays included] are the high-carat jewels of the project. The New Republic
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About Arthur Goldhammer

Pierre Nora is Editorial Director of Editions Gallimand. He is editor of the journal Le Debat and is Directeur D'Etudes at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.
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