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Human Nature and the French Revolution

From the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic Code

Xavier Martin

304 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-709-9 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (June 2001)

ISBN  978-1-57181-415-9 $34.95/£24.00 Pb Published (December 2003)

Hb Pb   Recommend to your Library

"Martin should be commended for finding a niche in this vast literature and managing to say something original ... His book is worth reading because it reminds us of an important aspect of Enlightenment thinking, one that questioned the freedom of the will."  · H-France

"... strongly recommended for specialists and advanced scholars of the period."  · History: Review of New Books

"... a valuable contribution to the institutional history of the Jacobin clubs."  · Canadian Journal of History

What view of man did the French Revolutionaries hold? Anyone who purports to be interested in the "Rights of Man" could be expected to see this question as crucial and yet, surprisingly, it is rarely raised. Through his work as a legal historian, Xavier Martin came to realize that there is no unified view of man and that, alongside the "official" revolutionary discourse, very divergent views can be traced in a variety of sources from the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic Code. Michelet's phrases, "Know men in order to act upon them" sums up the problem that Martin's study constantly seeks to elucidate and illustrate: it reveals the prevailing tendency to see men as passive, giving legislators and medical people alike free rein to manipulate them at will. His analysis impels the reader to revaluate the Enlightenment concept of humanism. By drawing on a variety of sources, the author shows how the anthropology of Enlightenment and revolutionary France often conflicts with concurrent discourses.

Xavier Martin is a Historian of Law and Professor at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences at Angers University. He has published extensively on the ideology of the French Revolution and on the Code Civil of 1804.

Series: Volume 3, Polygons: Cultural Diversities and Intersections
Subject: General Cultural Studies 18th/19th Century History
Area: France

LC: BD450 .M277313 2001

BL: YC.2001.a.16498

BISAC: SOC000000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/General; HIS037050 HISTORY/Modern/18th Century; HIS013000 HISTORY/Europe/France

BIC: JFC Cultural studies; HBLL Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900


Notes on Translation

Chapter 1. Human Nature
Chapter 2. Helvèticus and d'Holbach
Chapter 3. Voltaire
Chapter 4. Rousseau
Chapter 5. Pedagogy and Politics
Chapter 6. Mirabeau, Sieyès
Chapter 7. The Audacity of the Philanthropists
Chapter 8. Robespierre
Chapter 9. Making an Impression
Chapter 10. Cabanis and Destutt de Tracy
Chapter 11. La Rèvellière-Lèpeaux and Leclerc
Chapter 12. Supervised Sovereignty
Chapter 13. Mme de Staël and Constant
Chapter 14. Bonaparte Ideologue?
Chapter 15. The Napoleonic Code



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