David Andress, Experiencing the French Revolution

Sous la direction de David Andress, Experiencing the French Revolution, Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2013.

Introduction de David Andress : "Revolutionary historiography, adrift or at large? The paradigmatic quest versus the exploration of experience" :

The French Revolution was, undoubtedly, an experience. The mass of writings from the period make it clear to us that participants and spectators of revolutionary upheaval dwelt intensely in every passing moment of drama, quailing at its uncertainties, revelling in its possibilities and often hardening their own convictions and enmities at each new turn. A significant tendency of recent historiography has been to privilege this sense of such events as actor-centred, breaking with previous concerns to identify a larger structural or ideological paradigm within which to understand them. But to turn our attention onto the actors of history, rather than the social or cultural structures they seem to inhabit, has proved to be a move that itself threatens to bring only new perplexity. One of the goals of this collection is to reflect on whether such a feeling is justified, and to argue that the diverse methods and interests of the twenty-first-century historical profession can continue to explore the classic conflicts and evolutions of history, and to develop insights into the experiential worlds of their participants, without running onto the shoals of frequently-unspecified epistemological dangers.

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