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Braudel’s Long Term

Peter Burke, 10 January 1983

Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: Vol. I. The Structures of Everyday Life 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Collins, 623 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 00 216303 9
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Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: Vol. II. The Wheels of Commerce 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Collins, 670 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 9780002161329
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Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe-XVIIIe siècle: Vol. III. Le temps du monde 
by Fernand Braudel.
Armand Colin, 607 pp., frs 250, May 1979, 2 253 06457 2
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... Fernand Braudel has pulled it off twice. For most French historians, the massive thesis required until recently for the doctorat d’état is their one piece of sustained research, after which they graduate, or subside, into writing learned articles, or textbooks for schools and universities. Even Gibbon felt a profound sense of relief when he wrote the last lines of the last page of the Decline and Fall, and he did not take up any other grand project ...

Homage to Braudel

Geoffrey Parker, 4 September 1980

Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe – XVIIIe siécle 
by Fernand Braudel.
Armand Colin, 544 pp.
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... eventually to the Industrial Revolution. The format will remind many readers of the structure of Braudel’s other book, the celebrated Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II.1 In both works, the chronological account of what happened is left until last, coming almost as an anti-climax after a prolonged analysis of the ...
On Historians 
by J.H. Hexter.
Collins, 310 pp., £6.95, September 1979, 0 00 216623 2
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... my own provincialism. Of the seven historians studied in the book, I was familiar with only three: Fernand Braudel has been my mentor for more than quarter of a century; Lawrence Stone guided my first steps into the maze of Anglo-American historiography; Christopher Hill accompanied, a long time ago now, the infant squawks of my early Marxism, which today ...

Down with Occurrences

Erin Maglaque: Baroque Excess, 3 December 2020

Out of Italy 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Siân Reynolds.
Europa, 295 pp., £12.99, July 2019, 978 1 78770 166 3
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... FernandBraudel’s wife, Paule, remembered sitting with him on a wintry day at a café in Dubrovnik in the 1930s, watching a boat laden with firewood slowly coming into the port. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘we are in the 16th century.’ It was this sense of historical time that gave Braudel’s masterpiece, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (1949), its strikingly original structure ...

Sweet Homes and Tolerant Houses

Linda Colley, 16 August 1990

A History of Private Life. Vol IV: From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War 
edited by Michelle Perrot, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 713 pp., £29.95, April 1990, 0 674 39978 1
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Women for Hire: Prostitution and Sexuality in France after 1850 
by Alain Corbin, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Harvard, 478 pp., £31.50, April 1990, 0 674 95543 9
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... the same period of time. Some of the credit must go to a succession of scholars, Philippe Ariès, Fernand Braudel, Michel Foucault and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie among them, who combined intellectual power with formidable originality and entrepreneurial verve. But it is the kind of history writers like these have publicised that has been the main cause of ...

Application for Funding

John Bossy, 23 April 1992

Francis Bacon, the State, and the Reform of Natural Philosophy 
by Julian Martin.
Cambridge, 236 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 521 38249 1
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... knowledge’, it is not at all clear to me that he is making a political statement Lucien Febvre, Fernand Braudel and the Annales school of history in general have reguraly deplored individual operations in history, and called for collective historical enterprises on a grand scale. Such enterprises are likely to involve the state in financing something ...

Beyond the ‘New History’

Theodore Zeldin, 16 March 1989

The Identity of France. Vol I: History and Environment 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sian Reynolds.
Collins, 432 pp., £20, December 1988, 0 00 217773 0
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... Shortly before his death, I talked to Braudel about the motives that lay behind his final book, The Identity of France. He had made his reputation as a universal historian, with a global curiosity. Why should he seek to crown his achievement in such a parochial fashion, proclaiming that it was France, after all, that he really loved? ‘I am a Frenchman, just like any other,’ he said ...

Clive’s Clio

Hugh Tulloch, 8 February 1990

Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History 
by John Clive.
Collins Harvill, 334 pp., £15, October 1989, 0 00 272041 8
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... soil, food, prices, population – which shaped the lives of the majority. In the writings of Fernand Braudel the Mediterranean took precedence because it imposed the most fundamental limitations on Philip II’s foreign policy. In other works by the school the individual disappeared altogether, along with time, in the frozen immobility of the ...

Cite ourselves!

Richard J. Evans: The Annales School, 3 December 2009

The Annales School: An Intellectual History 
by André Burguière, translated by Jane Marie Todd.
Cornell, 309 pp., £24.95, 0 8014 4665 1
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... of epochs and periods, looking at an enormous variety of aspects of societies in the past. Some, Fernand Braudel among them, took vast geographical areas as their subject, and showed how key structures of human existence transcended the conventional boundaries of the state; others took one province or town and linked together in a complex but convincing ...


Peter Burke, 21 May 1987

The Count-Duke of Olivares: The Statesman in an Age of Decline 
by J.H. Elliott.
Yale, 733 pp., £19.95, August 1986, 0 300 03390 7
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Philip IV and the Decoration of the Alcazar of Madrid 
by Steven Orso.
Princeton, 227 pp., £36.70, July 1986, 0 691 04036 2
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... constraints, and how does he deal with them? Elliott’s book is in an important sense an ‘anti-Braudel’. The late Fernand Braudel made his reputation as the most original historian of our century with his study of the Mediterranean world in the age of Philip II, in which he undertook to show that the king was to a ...

Nicky, Willy and George

Christopher Clark: The Tsar, the Kaiser and the King, 22 October 2009

The Three Emperors: Three Cousins, Three Empires and the Road to World War One 
by Miranda Carter.
Fig Tree, 584 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 0 670 91556 9
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... shape the course of European history on the road to 1914, or were the monarchs (to paraphrase Fernand Braudel) mere crests of foam that the tides of international history carry on their strong backs? The book is less successful in its attempt to integrate the story of the clan with the grand narrative of European politics. The sheer scale and ...

Nation-States and National Identity

Perry Anderson, 9 May 1991

The Identity of France. Vol. II: People and Production 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sian Reynolds.
Collins, 781 pp., £25, December 1990, 0 00 217774 9
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... The most renowned historian of his time. Fernand Braudel owed his international reputation to the two great volumes on the Mediterranean in the age of Philip II which he published in 1949, and to his trilogy on the material civilisation of world capitalism, which appeared between 1967 and 1979. He died a few months before the first volumes of his incomplete final work came out in 1986 ...

Pigs, Pre-Roasted

Erin Maglaque: Lazy-delicious-land, 16 December 2021

Antwerp: The Glory Years 
by Michael Pye.
Allen Lane, 271 pp., £25, August 2021, 978 0 241 24321 3
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... who did it ‘mit Papier’. But in Antwerp, everyone traded with paper. When he came to study it, Fernand Braudel found the trade in bills of exchange and money-changing ‘not only complicated, but diabolical’.The nouveaux riches of Antwerp loved nothing more than eating huge quantities of meat. The 62 old butchering families couldn’t keep pace. In ...

Who invented Vercingétorix?

Julian Jackson: French national identity, 27 June 2002

Rethinking France: Les Lieux de mémoire. Volume I: The State 
by Pierre Nora, translated by Mary Trouille.
Chicago, 475 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 226 59132 8
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... we are the sons of no one and everyone.’ Symptomatic of this mood was the fact that in the 1980s Fernand Braudel should have turned to writing a somewhat elegiac book on ‘the identity of France’; or that at the same time the Socialist Minister of Education Jean-Pierre Chevènement tried to reintroduce lessons in civic values in schools and make ...

In Search of People’s History

Eric Hobsbawm, 19 March 1981

People’s History and Socialist Theory 
edited by Raphael Samuel.
Routledge, 417 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 7100 0765 5
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British Labour History 
by E.H. Hunt.
Weidenfeld, 428 pp., £18.50, January 1981, 0 297 77785 8
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... as the lower orders by means of television serials about early Roman emperors. As the great Fernand Braudel observes, ‘the obscure history of everyman’ (l’histoire obscure de tout le monde) is ‘the history toward which, in different ways, all historiography tends at present’. Histories claiming to take ‘peoples’ (as distinct from top ...

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