The French Revolution
La Révolution : III – Le gouvernement révolutionnaire
Автор(и) : Hippolyte Taine
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2002
ISBN : 0-86597-365-2 (vol. 3)
Брой страници : 1447
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.
As a beginning, the Constitution, so long anticipated and so often promised, is hastily fabricated: declarations of rights in thirty-five articles, the Constitutional bill in one hundred and twenty-four articles, political principles and institutions of every sort, electoral, legislative, executive, administrative, judicial, financial and military; in three weeks, all is drawn up and passed with race-horse speed. Of course, the new constitutionalists do not propose to produce an effective and serviceable instrument; that is the least of their anxieties. Hérault Séchelles, the reporter of the bill, writes on the 7th of June, “to have procured for him at once the laws of Minos, of which he has urgent need”; very urgent need, as he must hand in the Constitution that week. Such a circumstance is sufficiently characteristic of both the workmen and the work. All is mere show and pretence. Some of the workmen are shrewd politicians whose sole object is to furnish the public with words instead of things; others, ordinary scribblers of abstractions, or even ignoramuses, and unable to distinguish words from things, imagine that they are framing laws by stringing together a lot of phrases.
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."