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"Social history of representations " (Pascal Ory), cultural history, in its broad sense, has aroused the interest of students and historians for the past thirty years, as evidenced by the proliferation of works (dissertations, theses) dealing with of this vast subject. Yet thethe history - bubbling moreover - cultural of France in the XIXth century, had been treated only incompletely until today (with one or two notable exceptions). The work by Jean-Claude Yon, published at the end of February 2010 in the famous "U" collection of Armand Colin, is therefore timely for the study of this cultural field.
A clear, structured, very edifying book, which allows the reader to better understand the origin of the cultural fertility of the 20th century by studying the equally rich one of the 19th century.
Editorial presentation of the book
"At the crossroads of various fields of research, cultural history is in full expansion. Based on this dynamism, this work aims to offer the cultural panorama of a particularly rich century, from 1814 to 1914, not without returning to the founding work of the Revolution and the Empire. It shows how France, first marked by the Ancien Régime cultural, entered at the end of the century into mass culture and the leisure society. The range of topics covered is very wide: books and press, education, shows, policies and cultural institutions, literature, Fine Arts, religion and history of science, etc. This book, which is intended as a tool for students of bachelor's and master's degrees in history and human sciences, also intends to help a wider public to measure the contribution of the XIXth century to culture ".
From romanticism to the emergence of mass culture: an edifying and eclectic work
Lecturer in contemporary history at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin (Yvelines), Jean-Claude Yon studied the history of shows in the 19th century and notably wrote books on the Second Empire, Jacques Offenbach, and the theater . By publishing this work, he is therefore tackling an area that is dear to him: cultural history. Two main elements emanate from this book, scholarship initially, focusing on both the birth of romanticism, "popular" cultures, the birth of cinema, the five-centime press, music, the theater ...
This work also has the merit of being accessible, structured (generally three parts divided into three sub-parts), with a hierarchical biography and a useful index, in a word a book to have for any student or enthusiast interested in the XIXth century. Finally, in this book, it is not only a question of French artistic production during this period extending from the Congress of Vienna to the general mobilization of the summer of 1914, but also of mass culture, of the new cadres of life and mental frameworks.
It also has an opening on the twentieth century, including a few pages on Russian ballets (Diaghilev and the dancer Nijinsky), cubism (Braque, Picasso) and futurism, the Nouvelle Revue Française (Gide) and feminism, we thereby making it understood that the cultural richness of the last century was preceded by an equally great richness in the 19th century.
The Cultural History of France in the 19th Century, Jean-Claude Yon. U collection, Armand collin, February 2010.