Camisards and Vendeans. Two French wars, two living memoirs Philippe Joutard, Jean-Clement Martin Alcide, 156 pages, …


As everyone knows, the history of France has been marked since its origins in the state by heavy episodes of civil war. In the Civil War in France (1871), Marx made Thiers responsible for "unleashing (sic)" the civil war, but he refrains from sticking to that, and the question of the structural and cyclical foundations because of internal war is at the heart of the critical approach of the author of Capital. Class issues are the heart of his analysis. On the other hand, the possible social underpinnings of past confrontations are not the main concern of the two authors of the book in question here. However, their point of view deserves serious consideration.

The "camisards" revolt sets fire to the Cevennes

Based on recent work and renewed research, often undertaken to his credit, Philippe Joutard returns here, beautiful cards in support and cited documents, on the revolt "camisards" which set fire to the Cevennes in Following the execution, on July 24, 1702, of the abbot of Chayla: dark individual charged with putting in action the repression of the least manifestations of reappearance of the "religion pretended reformed", prohibited in the kingdom since 1685. After having describes the "war" led by the agents and soldiers of Louis XIV until 1704 against the descendants of the insurgent Huguenots, Joutard analyzes the mythical construction consecutive.

Extending the scope of his work on the insurrections held for "counter-revolutionaries" and culminating in the Vendée War, which tore the "First French Republic" from March 1793 to June 1795 (200 000 dead), before continuing for a long time in "chouannerie" or in "bad will", Jean-Clément Martin, proposes, him, a synthetic, precise and well removed description. He replaces the episode in the configuration of the French nation in revolution and facing the foreign invasion. The study of the causes of the insurrection and the way of repression is not the main purpose of the author: we may regret it, but what is essential for him is to describe and analyze the reasons for the mythical survival. of the Vendée, a factor of ideological-political polarization in contemporary France. This forces the reader's attention.

Exploring this "past that does not pass"

Become a conservative memory redone, consisting of a whole memorized memory device, it is a whole France of the post-revolutionary West which is thus questioned contradictorily by the historian. It can not be too strongly recommended to follow him in the exploration of this "past that does not pass" and in the "memory construction", moreover evolutive and shared, which is its product. Two stories, two memories compared, various approaches of heavy legacies among others: what are we made beyond our present conditionings? History does not provide a one-sided answer but contributes to unraveling the skein. Still, about the "popular" character (today we would say "populist"?) Western insurrections of the late seventeenth century, let us not forget, as Jaurès taught, that "he it is not enough for a movement to be popular, for the people to be involved in it … it is necessary that this movement and this agitation be aimed at the liberation of the people (…). Fighting the bourgeoisie for the benefit of the future is revolutionary. To fight it for the benefit of the past is reactionary. You said "heritage (s)" or news?


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