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National Character and Public Spirit in Britain and France, 1750–1914

$57.99 (C)

  • Date Published: February 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521024266

$ 57.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • In a work of unusual ambition and rigorous comparison, Roberto Romani considers the concept of "national character" in the intellectual histories of Britain and France. Perceptions of collective mentalities influenced a variety of political and economic debates, ranging from anti-absolutist polemic in eighteenth-century France to appraisals of socialism in Edwardian Britain. Romani argues that the eighteenth-century notion of "national character", with its stress on climate and government, evolved into a concern with the virtues of "public spirit" irrespective of national traits, in parallel with the establishment of representative institutions on the Continent.

    • The topic of 'national character' is new and of wide interest
    • This comparative approach considers France, Britain and, to a lesser extent, Italy
    • The long historical span (1750–1914) allows for discussion of many major thinkers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The content of the book is dense and detailed...a significant contribution..." American Historical Review

    "Romani explores the longevity and relative constancy of stereotypical views of "national character" and their influence on political and economic discussions in Britain and France from the Enlightenment to the 20th century. This provocative, erudite, and well-crafted work of traditional intellectual history well interest all scholars of national identity and political theory." Choice

    "The work shows a good understanding of the work of a vast number of modern theorists and an impressive array of scholarship." Philosophy in Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521024266
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 154 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.535kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. 1750–1850: France:
    1. All Montesquieu's sons: the place of esprit général, caractère national, and mœurs in French political philosophy, 1748–89
    2. After the Revolution: Staël on political morality
    3. From republicanism to industrialism and national character: Melchiorre Gioja, Charles Dupin and Continental political economy, 1800–48
    4. The French Restoration dispute over mores and Tocqueville
    Great Britain:
    5. Between Whiggism and the science of manners: Britain, 1750–1800
    6. British views on Irish national character, 1800–46
    Part II. 1850–1914:
    7. The demise of John Bull: social sciences in Britain, 1850–1914
    8. Durkheim's collective representation and their background
    9. Socializing public spirit, 1870–1914

  • Author

    Roberto Romani
    Roberto Romani is Research Associate at the Centre for History and Economics, King's College, Cambridge.

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