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Between the ancients and the moderns

This book offers a full account of the role played by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English Republican ideas in eighteenth-century France. Challenging some of the dominant accounts of the Republican tradition, it revises conventional understandings of what Republicanism meant in both Britain and France during the eighteenth century, offering a distinctive trajectory as regards ancient and modern constructions and highlighting variety rather than homogeneity within the tradition. The book thus offers a new perspective on both the legacy of the English Republican tradition and the origins and thought of the French Revolution. It centres around a series of case studies that focus on a number of colourful and influential characters including John Toland, Viscount Bolingbroke, John Wilkes, and the Comte de Mirabeau.


This book explores the appropriation of science in French society and the development of an urban scientific culture. Science underwent a process of commodification and popularization during the eighteenth century as more and more individuals sought to acquire some knowledge of scientific activities and as more and more people entered public debates on science. Popular science took many forms in the eighteenth century. While books, periodicals, universities, and academies all provided a breadth of scientific popularization at different levels and for different audiences, this book focuses on popular science within urban culture more generally. More than ever before, public lectures and demonstrations, clubs, and other activities arose in the eighteenth century as new opportunities for the general population to gain access to and appropriate science. These arenas for popular science were not restricted to people of a certain education. In fact, popular science, and public lecture courses in particular, was often set at a level that could be understood by pretty much anyone. This was a bone of contention between popularizers and their critics who felt that in some cases popular science lacked any sort of real scientific content. In reality, some popularizers had specific theoretical content in mind for their courses while others were admittedly more interested in theatrics. Identifying the audience, cost, and location of popular science helps reveal its place in urban culture. The book looks at the audience, identified through advertisements and course descriptions, as well as the economics of courses.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
The abbé Mably
Rachel Hammersley

5 A French commonwealthman: the abbé Mably Introduction Gabriel Bonnot de Mably is one of the central figures in the accounts of eighteenth-century French classical republicanism offered by Keith Baker and Kent Wright.1 Their groundbreaking studies transformed our understanding of Mably and placed him at the centre of accounts of eighteenth-century French republicanism and the intellectual origins of the French Revolution. Yet, the classical republican label does not quite do justice to the complexity of Mably’s ideas. As in the case of Montesquieu, two distinct

in The English republican tradition and eighteenth-century France
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Rachel Hammersley

domestication of republican ideas in eighteenth-century France, opening the way for and shaping the Revolution. The French figures considered in earlier chapters not only drew directly on the works and ideas of the English republican tradition, but were also grappling with the same problems, and often adopted similar solutions, to those of their British counterparts. While they were by no means homogeneous in their ideas, it is possible to discern a pattern in the uses made of English republican ideas in France during the course of the eighteenth century. The Huguenots played

in The English republican tradition and eighteenth-century France
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Mechthild Fend

what follows, take the medical metaphorisation of skin as a ‘nervous canvas’ as my guide in discussing relations between medical and artistic visions of skin in mid-eighteenth-century France. My example is the so-called portraits de fantaisie by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a painter who was particularly associated with a visible touche and a sophisticated handling of the brush with which he drew attention to the painting’s surface as crafted texture. Following on from my previous discussion of brushwork, textures and tissues, the argument will be that the simultaneous

in Fleshing out surfaces
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The educational “system” of eighteenth-century France
Adrian O’Connor

Prologue The educational “system” of eighteenth-century France There was no “system” of education in Ancien Régime France. There was, instead, a patchwork of local arrangements, institutional traditions, corporate models, and individual accommodations. These ranged from private tutors and independent masters offering classes in their homes to the elite faculties of the French universities and the learned academies, with petites écoles, collèges, seminaries, provincial academies, and other such institutions in between. R. R. Palmer described the collèges as

in In pursuit of politics
Eileen Fauset

disengage Kavanagh’s views by conducting further research into the original French sources of her material.1 I intend to look at her perspectives on some of the women she discusses and consider her views in the light of her own objectives. Her purpose was, indeed, a celebration of women and of women’s presence in history. She concentrates mainly, but not exclusively, on women of privilege whose position, she claims, afforded them tremendous social power and influence over those men who were prominent in the changing course of eighteenth-century France. Kavanagh argues

in The politics of writing
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Ceremony in history
Anne Byrne

, irrational, political, social, emotional. It is one aim of this study to identify the diversity of spurs to participation in public ceremonies experienced by a wide range of individuals. Individuals participated in ceremonies as members of groups. Ceremonial distinctions are by their nature tautological: they make worthy those who are already worthy participants; confirm the nobility of those who are already noble.32 In eighteenth-­century France, participation in royal ritual was corporate: princes of the blood, dukes and peers, members of the Paris Parlement and other

in Death and the crown
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Art, pedagogy and politics in Revolutionary France
Dorothy Johnson

14  Visceral visions: art, pedagogy and politics in Revolutionary France Dorothy Johnson In late eighteenth-century France, at the seeming height of neoclassicism in the arts with its goal of idealised form al’antica in the depiction of the human figure, an intensified fascination with the visual experience of viscera emerged. Visualisations of viscera and the innards of the human body in general abound in the visual culture of this period, including prints (anatomical as well as political), wax models of human figures with organs exposed, écorché figures

in Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century