Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870

Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870

David M. Hopkin

Paperback
$34.95
Hardback
$90.00

Royal Historical Society

Overview

Overview

A study of the differing views of the conscript based on evidence along the eastern border of France. The popular idea of the swaggering military folk-hero, a potent image for the peasant-conscript, contrasts with the elitist view of conscription as "the nation in arms".
Revolutionary France gave the modern world the concept of the "nation-in-arms", a potent combination of nationalism, militarism and republicanism embodied in the figure of the conscript. But it was not a concept shared by those most affected by conscription, the peasantry, who regarded the soldier as representative of an entirely different way of life. Concentrating on the militarised borderlands of eastern France, this book examines the disjuncture between the patriotic expectations of elites and the sentiments expressed in popular songs, folktales and imagery. Hopkin follows the soldier through his life-cycle to show how the peasant recruit was separated from his previous life and re-educated in military mores; and he demonstrates how the state-sponsored rituals of conscription and the popular imagery aimed at adolescent males portrayed the army as a place where young men could indulge in adventure far from parental and communal restraints. The popular idea of moustachioed military folk-heroes contributed more to the process of turning "peasants into Frenchmen" than the mythology of the "nation-in-arms".
WINNER OF THE 2002 RHS GLADSTONE PRIZE.

David M. Hopkin is tutor and fellow in history at Hertford College, Oxford University.

Details

54 black and white illustrations
408 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
Paperback, 9781843838432, August 2013
Hardback, 9780861932580, February 2002
Royal Historical Society
Boydell Press
BIC HBJD, 1DDF, 2AB, 3JF, 4P
BISAC HIS037030, HIS013000
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Reviews

This probing study has wide significance of an understanding of popular culture, gender and national identity... the product of meticulous research and high intelligence. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW
Opens up the subject in a boldly original way...in a sophisticated and confident work. MODERN & CONTEMPORARY FRANCE

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