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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 MarcBloch? 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 ...
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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... map in France was the philosopher Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, a member of the Année Sociologique circle; he tended to use the term where Durkheim would have written représentations collectives. MarcBloch 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 ...
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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... of the so-called Annales School. Annales, which remains one of the world’s leading historical journals, was founded in 1929 by two professors at the University of Strasbourg, Lucien Febvre and MarcBloch. 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 ...
8 November 2018
... Massiges is the German cemetery at Séchault, where iron crosses line up in an oak grove. The memorials to German Jews, being made of stone, stand out. Vienne-le-Château to the south-west is where MarcBloch 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 ...

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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... nationalist revival before 1914, and the importance of financial security in the development of literary vocations of the Right. There is also a very moving and intelligent account of the historian MarcBloch 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 ...

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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... Burguière is unable to stand outside the history he is analysing and break free from the many myths with which it has become encrusted. These begin with the journal’s foundation in 1929. Edited by MarcBloch 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 ...
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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... centre of the French intellectual stage. ‘Tradition,’ said de Certeau, ‘survives in the practices 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 ...
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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... history writers like these have publicised that has been the main cause of French history becoming so indisputably chic. In part because of the campaign against traditional historiography launched by MarcBloch 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 ...

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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... closest Thomas comes to thinking this through is in a brilliant but quickly abandoned analogy between the Fall of Tenochtitlán and the Fall of France in 1940, supported by an astute quotation from MarcBloch: 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 ...

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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... of the American Psychological Association, thought the Angels of Mons a fascinating expression of societal stress. ‘No war,’ he said, ‘was ever so hard on the nerves.’ The French historian MarcBloch 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 ...

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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...  has proved exceptionally fruitful in recent years, shedding the image it once had of naive and dessicated positivism. But neither the subject, nor its fruitfulness, is new. In the hands of MarcBloch, 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 ...


Perry Anderson: On E.P. Thompson

21 October 1993
... was working for New Left Review in London. After hours Edward and I would exchange notes on our day, and fence amiably about history and sociology. ‘Do you really think Weber is more important than MarcBloch?’ 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 ...
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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... into urban guerrillas. There were also freelance recruits to nascent movements of resistance, soon to provide local leadership: Jean-Pierre Lévy in the Isère, Pierre Kaan in the Allier, Jean-Pierre Bloch in Dordogne, MarcBloch – 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 ...

The Force of the Anomaly

Perry Anderson: Carlo Ginzburg

26 April 2012
Threads and Traces: True False Fictive 
by Carlo Ginzburg, translated by Anne Tedeschi and John Tedeschi.
California, 328 pp., £20.95, January 2012, 978 0 520 25961 4
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... that the principal differences between them are two: judges hand down sentences, and on individuals only, whereas historians deal with groups or institutions too, without penal authority over them. MarcBloch, in the spirit of the Annales, had rejected the intrusion of judicial models into history, as encouraging not only concern with famous persons rather than collective structures, but moralising ...
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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... lost, but Braudel read it. He imbibed a view of the world tormented by nationalism, the religion of the 19th century. He wanted to liberate himself from nationalism, but did not entirely succeed. MarcBloch wanted to also: he wrote that there could be no national history, only world history: but he was killed by the Nazis for it. Today nationalism is no longer a religion, only a superstition. The ...

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