By Paul M. Cohen

What type of freedom, and how much person, has the French innovative culture sought to propagate? Paul Cohen unearths a enormously French articulation of freedom within the texts and lives of 8 well known cultural critics who lived among the eighteenth century and the current day.

Arranged no longer in line with the lives and instances of its protagonists yet to the narrative topics and buildings they held in universal, Cohen’s examine discerns a unmarried grasp narrative of liberty in smooth France. He captures those radicals, whose culture bids them to withstand the authority of energy constructions and public opinion. They denounce bourgeois and utilitarian values, the facility of Church and kingdom, and the corrupting effect of daily politics, and so they dream of a progressive rupture, a fleeting fast of occasionally violent yet continually significant transgression.

An eloquent and insightful paintings on French political tradition, Freedom's Moment additionally is helping clarify how France, at the same time it has oscillated among political stagnation and predicament, has held onto its religion that liberty, equality, and fraternity stay inside its grasp.

Examines the information of Rousseau, Robespierre, Stendahl, Michelet, Bergson, Peguy, Sartre, and Foucault.

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Extra resources for Freedom's Moment: An Essay on the French Idea of Liberty from Rousseau to Foucault

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23Robespierre the student is conventionally portrayed as unpopular with his Parisian schoolmates and socially withdrawn. ” Thus, the received account of Robespierre’s youth marks him as the talented provincial outsider and “hornme du peuple” destined to conquer Paris by virtue of his superior intellect and wiLZ4 Where, as intimated above, the childhood of a future heretic more or less conformed to the mythic paradigm, it would seem emphasized or embellished in his public biography. ” And in the opening chapters of their own testimonials to Pkguy, both Jean and Jtrome Tharaud, and Daniel HalCvy quote the same telling passage.

Peguy’s own autobiographical reflections were collected by his son 26 CHAPTER TWO modern France, Stendhal’s fictional allegory, encompassing both that fable and its revolutionary postscript, offers a synopsis of the master fiction as a whole-an archetype, in other words, of the hero and plot structure within which the myth of the heroic intellectual would seem to have been framed in modern France. Julien Sore1 must have appeared to the nineteenth-century French reader as nothing if not a postrevolutionary Jean-Jacques.

A Napoleonic soldier and official in his youth, Stendhal was at most, thereafter, a self-described “fanatical republican” who remained aloof nevertheless from political engagement and outspoken cultural radicalism. During his own lifetime, in fact, he was neither particularly well known nor widely read. ~~ Yet Stendhal’s oeuvre, both fictional and autobiographical, betrays an unmistakable and enduring debt to Rousseau-especially to La Nouvelle Hkloije, Emile, and Les Confessions. In fact, contemporary scholarship depicts a Stendhal ensnared despite himself within the Rousseauian web.

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