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A PRACTICAL TURN: ELIE HALEVY'S EMBRACE OF POLITICS AND HISTORY

  • JOEL REVILL (a1)
Abstract

Elie Halévy's legacy is bounded by the two primary objects of his scholarly interest: the history of modern Britain and the study of French socialist doctrines. Taken together, his writings on temperate English politics and occasionally intemperate French socialists cemented his status as a leading French liberal of his generation. Read out of context, the tone of his criticism of wartime socialization and the growth of wartime governments has given him a conservative reputation in some circles and inspired a backlash among historians seeking a more progressive Halévy in his prewar writings. Meanwhile, the depth of his historical study of Britain has elicited several discussions of Halévy's turn from philosophy to history at the end of the 1890s. The portrait of Halévy that emerges in light of his historical studies of England and of French socialism is detailed, accurate, and flattering, but, like any portrait, it is incomplete. Before he was a historian, Halévy was a philosopher, and before he mastered his craft in the early twentieth century, Halévy struggled to find his voice in the late nineteenth.

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Mary Jo Nye , “The Boutroux Circle and Poincaré's Conventionalism,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 40 (1979), 107–20

Ludovic Frobert , “Halévy's Lectures on European Socialism,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 68 (2007), 329–53, 334

Harry Paul , “The Debate over the Bankruptcy of Science in 1895,” French Historical Studies, 5 (1968), 299327

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Modern Intellectual History
  • ISSN: 1479-2443
  • EISSN: 1479-2451
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-intellectual-history
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