Democracy in America/De la Démocratie en Amérique
Bilingual Editon, Volume 3
Автор(и) : Alexis de Tocqueville
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2010
ISBN : 978-0-86597-722-8 CL (vol. 3)
Брой страници : 985
Език : английски
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In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and his friend Gustave de Beaumont visited the United States on behalf of the French government to study American prisons. In their nine months in the U.S. they studied not just the prison system but every aspect of American life, public and private—the political, economic, religious, cultural, and above all social life of the young nation. From Tocqueville's copious notes of what he had seen and heard came the classic text De la Démocratie en Amérique, published in two large volumes, the first in 1835, the second in 1840. The first volume focused primarily on political society; the second, on civil society. Tocqueville's account of the travels and adventures of the two Frenchmen aimed to get down the truth about America, not only to praise the new country's strengths but also to critique its shortcomings when these were all too evident to outside eyes.
The Liberty Fund bilingual Democracy in America includes Eduardo Nolla's historical-critical edition of the French text and notes on the lefthand pages and James Schleifer's English translation on the right. This is the fullest historical-critical edition of the Democracy, and the notes offer an extensive selection of early outlines, drafts, manuscript variants, marginalia, unpublished fragments, and other materials. From the foreword to the French edition: “This new Democracy is not only the one that Tocqueville presented to the reader of 1835, then to the reader of 1840. It is enlarged, amplified by a body of texts. . . . the reader will see how Tocqueville proceeded with the elaboration of the main ideas of his book.”
"Of the Literary Industry
Democracy not only makes the taste for letters penetrate the industrial classes, it introduces the industrial spirit into literature.
[In aristocratic centuries you often take literature as a career, and in the others as a trade.]
In aristocracies, readers are particular and few; in democracies, it is less difficult to please them, and their number is prodigious. As a result, among aristocratic peoples, you can hope to succeed only by immense efforts, and these efforts which can bring a great deal of glory cannot ever gain much money; while among democratic nations, a writer can hope to obtain without much cost a mediocre fame and a great fortune.c For that, he does not have to be admired; it is enough that he is enjoyed.
The always growing crowd of readers and the continual need that they have for something new assures the sales of a book that they hardly value.
In times of democracy, the public often acts toward authors like kings ordinarily do toward their courtiers; it enriches them and despises them. What more is needed for the venal souls who are born in courts, or who are worthy to live there?
Democratic literatures always swarm with these authors who see in letters only an industry, and, for the few great writers that you see there, you count sellers of ideas by the thousands."
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) was a French writer and politician. With his friend Gustave Beaumont he spent nine months in America and with him published a study of the American penal system and its applicability to France. Tocqueville's fame was established by his De la Démocratie en Amérique, published in two volumes in 1835 and 1840. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1839, was a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1848 and of the Legislative Assembly in 1849, was minister of foreign affairs in 1849, and was imprisoned in 1851 for his opposition to the coup d’état of Louis-Napoléon. At his death he had completed volume 1 of his L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (1856).