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Forest Rites: The War of the Demoiselles in Nineteenth-Century France (Harvard Historical Studies)

Sahlins, Peter

4 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0674308964 / ISBN 13: 9780674308961
Published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1998
Used Condition: Very Good Soft cover
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A very good copy of the softcover edition. The text is wholly unmarked, pristine, and the binding is bright and fresh in appearance, with no creasing to the spine. A sharp copy. Bookseller Inventory # 018493

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Forest Rites: The War of the Demoiselles in ...

Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title

Synopsis:

In May 1829, strange reports surfaced from the Ariege department in the French Pyrenees, describing male peasants, bizarrely dressed in women's clothes, gathering in the forests at night to chase away state guards and charcoalmakers. This was the raucous War of the Demoiselles, a protest against the national French Forest Code of 1827, which restricted peasants' rights to use state and private forests. Peter Sahlins unravels the fascinating story of this celebrated popular uprising, and in his telling captures the cultural, historical and political currents that swept the countryside during France's July 1830 Revolution. Sahlins explains how and why the Ariege peasants drew on the practices and rituals of folk culture, as well as on a revolutionary tradition, to defend their inherited rights to the forest. To explore these rights and their expression, he delves into the history of forest management, of peasant conflicts with the state, and of popular culture - particularly the disputed history of Carnival and of local rituals of justice. Sahlins also sheds new light on the French revolutionary tradition and the "Three Glorious Days" of July 1830. The drama and symbolism of the War of the Demoiselles have inspired nearly a dozen plays, novels, films and even a comic book. Using the concepts of anthropology and cultural studies as transport, Sahlins moves from this rich event to the wider worlds of peasant society in France. Focusing on the years from 1829 to 1832 but drawing on sources since the 16th century, his book should captivate social, cultural and political historians of both early modern and modern Europe.

Review:

An early modernist by training...Sahlins skillfully uses cultural anthropology as well as the insights of Roger Chartier to reconstruct the War of the Demoiselles as a clash of discrete but complementary cultures, hidden from each other but coexisting, parts of a whole...Its important insights about the fluidity of culture, however, will assure it a secure place on the syllabus of nineteenth-century studies.
--Kathleen Kete (Journal of Modern History)

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