Les Lieux de mémoire, Volume 1: The State
The first volume in the Chicago translation, Rethinking France, brings together works addressing the omnipresent role of the state in French life. As in the other volumes, the lieux de mémoire serve as entries into the French past, whether they are actual sites, political traditions, rituals, or even national pastimes and textbooks. Volume I: The State offers a sophisticated and engaging view of the French and their past through widely diverse essays on, for example, the château of Versailles and the French history of absolutism; the Code civil and its ordering of French life; memoirs written by French statesmen; and Charlemagne and his place in French history. Nora's authors constitute a who's who of French academia, yet they wear their erudition lightly. Taken as a whole, this extraordinary series documents how the French have come to see themselves and why.
Hervé Le Bras