The French Revolution
La Révolution : I – l’anarchie
Автор(и) : Hippolyte Taine
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2002
ISBN : 0-86597-363-3 (vol. 1)
Брой страници : 410
Език : английски
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Hippolyte Taine’s The French Revolution, which is written from the viewpoint of conservative French opinion, is a unique and important contribution to revolutionary historiography.
Taine condemns the radicals of the French Revolution, unhesitatingly contradicting the rosy, Rousseauesque view of the Revolution.Taine approached the Revolution in the same way that a medical doctor approaches a disease. Indeed, he described his work not so much as a history as a “pathology” of the Revolution. His method constitutes his principal contribution to study of the subject. This method began with an examination, not of the French, but of the English. As Professor Mona Ozouf observes, Taine “maintained [that] the history of the Revolution depended on the definition of the French spirit.” He had, in an earlier account of English literature, defined “a unique explanatory principle” for investigation of the contrasting societies of the French and the English. This principle among the English, he reported, is “the sense of liberty,” or what he described as the English conviction that “man, having conceived alone in his conscience and before God the rules of his conduct, is above all a free, moral person.” In contrast to the English ability to conserve and even to expand liberty through gradual adaptation to changing circumstances, Taine identified a “French spirit” that became, Ozouf emphasizes, “his central explanation of the French revolutionary phenomenon.” This phenomenon explained, Taine argued, why France “had demolished its national community well before the Revolution”—thus making the Revolution not only inevitable, but also inevitably terrible.
IF there is any work in this world difficult to achieve it is a constitution, and especially a complete one. To replace the old forms in which a great nation has lived by others that are different, appropriate, and enduring; to fit a mould of a hundred thousand compartments to the life of twenty-six millions of men; to fashion this so harmoniously, adapt it so well, so closely, with such an exact appreciation of their needs and faculties, that they may enter it of themselves and move about in it without collisions, and that their spontaneous activity should at once find the ease of old routine—is a prodigious undertaking, and probably beyond the powers of the human mind. In any event, the mind requires all its powers to carry the undertaking out, and it cannot too carefully guard itself against all sources of disturbance and error. An Assembly, and especially a Constituent Assembly, requires, outwardly, security and independence, inwardly, silence and order, and generally, calmness, good sense, practical ability, and discipline under competent and recognised leaders. Do we find anything of all this in the Constituent Assembly?
Hippolyte Adolphe Taine (1828 – 1893) was a French critic and historian. He was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism, a major proponent of sociological positivism, and one of the first practitioners of historicist criticism. Literary historicism as a critical movement has been said to originate with him. Taine is particularly remembered for his three-pronged approach to the contextual study of a work of art, based on the aspects of what he called "race, milieu, and moment".
Taine had a profound effect on French literature; the 1911
Encyclopædia Britannica asserted that "the tone which pervades the works of Zola, Bourget and Maupassant can be immediately attributed to the influence we call Taine's."