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Great Warrior

Robert Wohl, 21 January 1982

Memoirs of War 1914-15 
by Marc Bloch, translated by Carole Fink.
Cornell, 177 pp., £9, July 1980, 9780801412202
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... What comes to mind when we hear the name Marc Bloch? A great medievalist whose studies of feudal society are still read and admired today? The co-founder with Lucien Febvre of a journal, the Annales, which has given its name to a new school of history with proponents all over the world? A gallant and unyielding résistant who affirmed his Jewish heritage in the face of virulent anti-semitism and died at the hands of a German firing-squad in 1944 crying: ‘Vive la France’? Marc Bloch was all these things ...

Medieval Dreams

Peter Burke, 4 June 1981

Time, Work and Culture in the Middle Ages 
by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Chicago, 384 pp., £13.50, January 1981, 0 226 47080 6
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... circle; he tended to use the term where Durkheim would have written représentations collectives. Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, founders of Annales, the journal associated with the ‘new history’ in France from 1929 onwards, were also quick to take up the new concept. Bloch’s book Les Rois Thaumaturges, first ...

Along the Voie Sacrée

Inigo Thomas, 8 November 2018

... to German Jews, being made of stone, stand out. Vienne-le-Château to the south-west is where Marc Bloch was posted in 1915. His war diaries convey the boredom of war work behind the lines, with nothing to read and no sense of what was going on elsewhere. ‘I had little comprehension of the battle,’ he wrote. ‘It was the victory of the Marne but ...

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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... journals, was founded in 1929 by two professors at the University of Strasbourg, Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch. At that point Febvre and Bloch were anti-Establishment figures, rebels against the continued dominance of political history in France and believers in a ‘wider and more human history’, as they called it, a ...

Beyond Paris

Richard Cobb, 27 June 1991

My France: Politics, Culture, Myth 
by Eugen Weber.
Harvard, 412 pp., £19.95, February 1991, 0 674 59575 0
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... vocations of the Right. There is also a very moving and intelligent account of the historian Marc Bloch and his tragic death. Some of the other pieces, starting with ‘Nos ancêtres les Gaullois’ and including ‘Left, Right and Temperament’, and thirdly ‘In Search of the Hexagon’, seem rather lightweight and offer at times rather ponderous ...

Qui êtes-vous, Sir Moses?

C.R. Whittaker, 6 March 1986

Ancient History: Evidence and Models 
by M.I. Finley.
Chatto, 131 pp., £12.95, September 1985, 0 7011 3003 2
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... and ideologies of the present.’ The movement was given birth by Medieval historians, such as Bloch, Febvre and Braudel. It reached its climax in the ‘Braudelian empire’ of the VIe Section of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, producing such towering figures as Labrousse, Duby and Le Roy Ladurie. Ancient history has been carried along in 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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... with which it has become encrusted. These begin with the journal’s foundation in 1929. Edited by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, both professors at the University of Strasbourg, it was entitled Annales d’histoire économique et sociale, and from the beginning proclaimed its ambition to play a leading role in the field of economic and social history in ...

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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... indisputably chic. In part because of the campaign against traditional historiography launched by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre in the 1920s, and partly too, I suspect, because the humiliations of the German Occupation encouraged alienation from the political, there has been a concentration instead on the private and on the popular. Not monarchs, or ...


Perry Anderson: On E.P. Thompson, 21 October 1993

... and fence amiably about history and sociology. ‘Do you really think Weber is more important than Marc Bloch?’ he would ask me with an air of mischievous puzzlement. If we were more circumspect about politics, this was partly a question of tact – he didn’t want to lean on me too heavily, as a cub editor of the journal of which he was a founder. But ...

What a Woman!

J.L. Nelson: Joan of Arc, 19 October 2000

Joan of Arc 
by Mary Gordon.
Weidenfeld, 168 pp., £12.99, April 2000, 0 297 64568 4
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Joan of Arc: A Military Leader 
by Kelly DeVries.
Sutton, 242 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7509 1805 5
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The Interrogation of Joan of Arc 
by Karen Sullivan.
Minnesota, 208 pp., £30, November 1999, 0 8166 3267 7
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... and dessicated positivism. But neither the subject, nor its fruitfulness, is new. In the hands of Marc Bloch, or of Jean Mabillon, the author of the great De re diplomatica (1681), archival materials, charters and legal records were unpicked, decoded and recontextualised no less vigorously and no less sensitively than chronicles. Diplomatics came alive ...

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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... of The Mediterranean from the camps to his friend and former teacher Lucien Febvre, who with Marc Bloch had founded the journal Annales d’histoire économique et sociale in Strasbourg in 1929. During the Occupation, Febvre stayed in Paris editing the journal, while Bloch (at the age of 56) joined the ...

Sad Nights

Michael Wood, 26 May 1994

The Conquest of Mexico 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hutchinson, 832 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 671 70518 0
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The Conquest of Mexico 
by Serge Gruzinski, translated by Eileen Corrigan.
Polity, 336 pp., £45, July 1993, 0 7456 0873 6
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... the Fall of Tenochtitlán and the Fall of France in 1940, supported by an astute quotation from Marc Bloch: routine and regulations o the French and the Mexicans versus the concrete imagination and suppleness of intelligence of the Germans and the Spanish. That is a clash of cultures, and an uncomfortable comparison, as Thomas clearly ...

Ministry of Apparitions

Malcolm Gaskill: Magical Thinking in 1918, 4 July 2019

A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination and Faith during the First World War 
by Owen Davies.
Oxford, 284 pp., £20, October 2018, 978 0 19 879455 4
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... societal stress. ‘No war,’ he said, ‘was ever so hard on the nerves.’ The French historian Marc Bloch was thrilled to observe in the trenches ‘a wonderful renewal of oral tradition’. Men moving up and down the line would exchange a few words, often passing on rumours that were groundless but hugely significant for the hearers. The ...

Hitting and running

Eugen Weber, 10 June 1993

In Search of the Maquis: Rural Resistance in Southern France, 1942-1944 
by H.R. Kedward.
Oxford, 342 pp., £35, March 1993, 0 19 821931 8
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Outwitting the Gestapo 
by Lucie Aubrac, translated by Konrad Bieber and Betsy Wing.
Nebraska, 235 pp., $25, June 1993, 0 8032 1029 9
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... provide local leadership: Jean-Pierre Lévy in the Isère, Pierre Kaan in the Allier, Jean-Pierre Bloch in Dordogne, Marc Bloch – the historian, who was to be denounced and executed – come to mind. The Jewish 35th Brigade in the South-West received no air-drops, and had to rely on liberated revolvers and handmade ...

Fallen Idols

David A. Bell, 23 July 1992

The Fabrication of Louis XIV 
by Peter Burke.
Yale, 242 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 300 05153 0
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... the history of royal ceremonial in France, which provided the backdrop for Louis’s innovations. Marc Bloch pioneered its study with his classic The Royal Touch, which investigated how French and English kings supposedly ‘cured’ scrofula and other skin diseases by a quasi-magical laying on of hands. Subsequent works have illuminated royal funerals ...

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