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Liberty and Locality in Revolutionary France
Six Villages Compared, 1760–1820


Part of New Studies in European History

  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521037846

£ 43.99

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the interface between the old and the new France in the period 1760–1820. It adopts an unusual 'comparative micro-historical' approach in order to illuminate the manner in which country dwellers cut themselves loose from the congeries of local societies that made up the Ancien Régime, and attached themselves to the wider polity of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic state. The apprehensions and ambitions of six groups of villagers located in different parts of the kingdom are explored in close-up across the span of a single adult lifetime. Contrasting experiences form a large part of the analysis, but the story is ultimately one of fusion around a set of values that no individual villager could possibly have anticipated, whether in 1750 or 1789. The book is at once an institutional, a social and a political history of life in the village in an epoch of momentous change.

    • A comparative micro-history for this crucial period of change in French history
    • Offers an alternative perspective on the rural history of France during the Revolutionary period and beyond
    • Of interest not only to historians of France but to anyone seriously interested in the 'micro-history' of village communities
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Peter Jones [is] the most accomplished British historian of the French peasantry … his sensitivity to the patterns and concerns of rural life has a human feel of authenticity … Superb and innovative empirical research of this sort is a welcome counterpoint to the grander narratives which the French Revolution so understandably evokes.' The Times Literary Supplement

    '… outstanding … Those familiar with his work will not be surprised that the book is characterized by a deep familiarity with both national politics and the 'revolution in the village', expressed in succinct, lucid prose.' History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521037846
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 225 x 151 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.486kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 10 maps 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of tables
    1. Mise-en-scène
    2. The structures of village life towards the end of the ancien régime
    3. Agendas for change:
    4. A new civic landscape
    5. Sovereignty in the village
    6. Church and state in miniature
    7. Land of liberty?

  • Author

    Peter Jones, University of Birmingham
    Peter Jones is Professor of French History, University of Birmingham.

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