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Rethinking France

Les Lieux de mémoire, Volume 4: Histories and Memories

The fourth and final volume in Pierre Nora’s monumental series documenting the history and culture of France takes a self-reflective turn. The eleven essays collected here consider the texts and places that make up the collective memory of the history of France, a country whose people are extraordinarily self-conscious of history and their place in it. Distinguished contributors look at the medieval Grands chroniques de France and the monasteries and chancelleries that produced them, the establishment of Versailles as a historical museum, and Pierre Larousse’s Grand dictionnaire, an important touchstone of cultural memory. Other essays range in topic from the creation of the National Archives, a curiously organized catacomb of manuscripts, to Annales, a publication begun in 1929 that profoundly revitalized the study of history in France. Taken together these richly detailed essays fully explore the multifaceted ways France has institutionalized its history and are, along with the rest of Les Lieux de mémoire, a crucial part of that process.

504 pages | 77 halftones | 6 1/2 x 9 1/4 | © 2010

History: European History


"Like its illustrious predecessors . . . this volume exhibits a grandeur of vision."


Table of Contents


Pierre Nora (translated by Richard C. Holbrook)

1. Chanceries and Monasteries

Bernard Guenée (translated by Deke Dusinberre)

2. The Archives: From the Trésor des chartes to the CARAN

Krzysztof Pomian (translated by Christine Haynes)

3. Alexandre Lenoir and the Museum of French Monuments

Dominique Poulot (translated by John Goodman)

4. Guizot and the Institutions of Memory

Laurent Theis (translated by Daniel Hall)

5. The Historical Museum at Versailles

Thomas W. Gaehtgens (translated by Richard S. Levy)

6. Pierre Larousse’s Grand Dictionnaire: The Alphabet of the Republic

Pascal Ory (translated by Gayle Levy)

7.The Grandes Chroniques de France: The Roman of Kings (1274–1518)

Bernard Guenée (translated by John Goodman)

8. Étienne Pasquier’s Les Recherches de la France: The Invention of the Gauls

Corrado Vivanti (translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan)

9. Augustin Thierry’s Lettres sur l’histoire de France

Marcel Gauchet (translated by Sarah Maza)

10. Ernest Lavisse’s Histoire de France: Pietas erga patriam

Pierre Nora (translated by Richard C. Holbrook)

11. The Era of the Annales

Krzysztof Pomian (translated by John Goodman)

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