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Blood in the City: Violence and Revelation in Paris, 1789-1945

Burton, Richard D.E.

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ISBN 10: 0801438683 / ISBN 13: 9780801438684
Published by Cornell University Press, U.S.A., 2001
New Condition: New Hardcover

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Blood in the City: Violence and Revelation ...

Publisher: Cornell University Press, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


The Terror of 1793-94, the Paris Commune of 1871, the Dreyfus Affair―explosions of violence punctuated French history from the start of the Revolution until the Liberation at the close of World War II. The distinguished scholar Richard D. E. Burton here offers a stunningly original account of these outbursts, concluding that recourse to political violence was not occasional and abnormal, but rather the usual pattern, in French history. Instead of adhering to conventional chronological lines, Blood in the City is structured topologically around a number of major Parisian "sites of memory," including Place de la Concorde, Sacré Coeur, and the Eiffel Tower. For thirty years Burton has visited and revisited Paris, criss-crossing the streets on foot, and lived with great nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary depictions of the city. Drawing on historical, literary, visual, anthropological, and psychological sources, he develops a wide-ranging account of violence in modern French politics. In so doing, he provides powerful insights into political violence, scapegoating, the idea of sacrifice, and the widespread French obsession with conspiracy. Burton demonstrates that time and again the same basic scenario has been acted out on the streets of Paris: one or more people would be singled out from the community and imprisoned, exiled, or, more often, subjected to violence by the crowd or the state. In particular, he explores how Catholicism―in its extreme, ultrareactionary form―shaped the worldviews of Parisians and how the killing of a sacrificial victim came to be seen as a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ.


"Burton evokes the temper of those vitriolic times through skillful analysis of the works of the Parisian literati . . . to prove that the storming of the Bastille unleashed a legacy of violent political upheavals. . . Provocative. . . This unique work is a worthwhile purchase for both academic and public libraries."―Library Journal, August 2001

"An extraordinary recent book is Richard D. E. Burton's Blood in the City, a chilling and erudite study of lynching, execution, suicide and murder in Paris, including events from the decapitation of Louis XVI to the assassination and executions of the postwar épuration."―Edmund White, Times Literary Supplement, December 6, 2002, No. 5201

"The outstanding achievement of this work is that its author revitalizes the Parisian landscape through a highly accessible and well-written account of cultural history. It therefore succeeds both as narrative and as an academic study deserving to feature prominently on the reading list of any student of French cultural history as well as that of any informed visitor to Paris."―Martin Hurcombe, University of Bristol. Journal of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, 2002

"One of the most engaging features of the book is the way in which it recasts religion as a central interpretative agent of nineteenth-century French history. . . Stimulating and interesting."―Bertrand Taithe, University of Manchester. H-France, February 2002

"An intricate, absorbing, and multi-faceted analysis of the literary, political, and cultural fury that animated Paris during the years of the 19th and 20th centuries. . . . Rewarding to the very last syllable, Blood in the City is a testament to outstanding historical scholarship."―Virginia Quarterly Review, Vol. 78, No. 2

"Without the slightest doubt, this is one of the best and most thoroughly enjoyable books that I have read in a considerable period of time. Burton has, in Blood in the City, provided the thoughtful and curious reader an outstanding read that is well worth the time to peruse it. . . . I enthusiastically recommend this superb book to all students of French history, as well as to the serious tourist who intends to visit Paris. . . . Blood in the City would be an excellent addition to academic libraries, particularly those that support study abroad in Paris, and medium to large libraries."―Eric A. Arnold, Jr., University of Denver. History: Reviews of New Books, Spring 2002, Vol. 30, No. 3

"Blood in the City presents an enthralling account of the atavistic myths underpinning the series of bloody revolutions that, paradoxically, ended up turning Paris into the crucible of modernity. Through his brilliant analysis of Paris's cultural, political, and literary history, Richard D. E. Burton has created a seamless and gripping narrative that makes compelling sense of a century and a half of Parisian violence."―Mark Ford, Author of Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams

"This astonishing and compelling book is both a graphic study of the many forms and waves of violence that have swept Paris since 1789, and a subtle, imaginative interpretation of the bloody rituals that have marked the long contest between embittered Catholics and anticlericals still deeply marked by France's catholic culture."―Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University

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