SAVOY Bénédicte, VON CHÉZY Helmina, Helmina von Chézy, Leben und Kunst in Paris seit Napoleon I (in German)
Description: After two years dedicated to the study of Leben und Kunst in Paris seit Napoleon I, the work first begun by Helmina von Chézy (1783-1856) in 1804, the new edition, edited by Bénédicte Savoy and recently published by the Akademie Verlag (Berlin), was unveiled at the Centre allemand d'histoire de l'art in Paris.
Alongside the actress Emilie Prévosteau, who delivered a vibrant and lively reading of a letter from Helmina describing cultural life in Paris around 1800, the art historian and centre director, Andreas Beyer, paid tribute to the importance of this work, Helmina von Chézy, Leben und Kunst in Paris seit Napoleon I and the writings of Helmina von Chézy, a character who was the embodiment of the social circles in which she moved and the cultural exchanges taking place at the beginning of the 19th century. Her writings are testament to the cultural dynamism and the state of the arts in Paris during the Empire.
The presentation of the book was given by the co-authors involved in the publication, including David Blankenstein (Technishe Universität, Berlin), Lisa Hackmann, Matthias Heuser (Freie Universität, Berlin), Eva Knels (PhD student and Institut historique allemand scholar), Malte Lohmann (publisher and former student at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Nina Struckmeyer (Freie Universität, Berlin).
Mirroring the urban dynamic which the young lady from Berlin experienced during her time in Paris, the work ignores any chronological order or hierarchy, instead preferring to focus on the various themes that constitute her life. This diarist, intellectual and art-lover was close to Vivant Denon (1747-1825, director of the Musée Napoléon, now the Louvre) and was often present at Juliette Récamier's salon (1777-1849, patron of the arts and friend of Madame de Staël and Chateaubriand). Based on von Chézy's writings, this work offers a unique and fascinating account of the contemporary private collections in Paris, including that of Lucien Bonaparte (1775-1840, brother of the Emperor). It also testifies to the period's taste for Orientalism, the growth and development of the "troubadour style" (which, partly in reaction to the Neoclassical style, adopted an idealised view of the Middle Ages), and describes the young, up and coming breed of French painters, including Gros, Gérard, Ingres and Girodet, as well as the public's reaction to their paintings.
Very aware of the clichés and preconceived ideas of the period, and ignoring nationalist considerations and any eventual comparative approach, Von Chézy paints a detailed, accurate and thoughtful portrait of an era.
With the publication of Helmina von Chézy, Leben und Kunst in Paris seit Napoleon I, an essential account of a defining moment in the history of French culture and art is finally available to the public.
Text in German.
Romain Condamine (tr. & ed. H.D.W.)
Place and publisher: Berlin: Akademie Verlag
Date of publication: 2009
Number of pages: 792
This week’s book(s):
From the publishers:
This study provides the first book-length account of U.S.-Habsburg relations from their origins in the early nineteenth century through the aftermath of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference. By including not only high-level diplomacy but also an analysis of diplomats' ceremonial and social activities, as well as an exploration of consular efforts to determine the citizenship status of thousands of individuals who migrated between the two countries, Nicole M. Phelps demonstrates the influence of the Habsburg government on the integration of the United States into the nineteenth-century Great Power System and the influence of American racial politics on the Habsburg Empire's conceptions of nationalism and democracy. In the crisis of World War I, the U.S.-Habsburg relationship transformed international politics from a system in which territorial sovereignty protected diversity to one in which nation-states based on racial categories were considered ideal.
- This book takes the ceremonial activities, social activities and administrative work of consuls seriously, prompting a rethinking of the importance of these frequently dismissed activities in international relations,
- it also combines a study of high politics with an account of the role of everyday people in shaping international relations, the operation of state, and definitions of sovereignty and identity
- it finally demonstrates the involvement of the U.S. in international affairs prior to WWI, countering the traditional narrative of isolation.
Review of this book by Dr Stephen Tuffnell in Reviews in History, dated 6 March, 2014.
Place and publisher: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Date of publication: 2013
Number of pages: 301
This is volume one of Michael Broers' biography of Napoleon. Yes, it's Napoleon's life story. But there are some striking new takes which make it a fascinating read. One that spoke to me was Broers' insistence on the Corsican childhood. The Oxford academic's distinction between Corsicans of the interior and the Corsican coastlanders (aptly set against the image of the Anglo-Irish of the Pale and the Irish of the interior) is fascinatingly new. What's more, this key helps guide the reader throughout the labyrinth of Corsican politics, Paoli, the arrival of the French Revolution, local alliances and conflicts. Broers is also tendentious, when he describes the marriage to Josephine as a mistake! And his insights into the similarities of experience of the soon-to-be imperial couple similarly are compelling. For Napoleon's public career, as Broers himself proudly notes, this is the first ever to have been written using ‘our' Correspondance générale. As a result (not surprisingly), the account is sure and stimulating. Alongside the English-language biographies by John Holland Rose and Steven Englund, his account is one that's going stand the test of time. Roll on volume two!
Peter Hicks, March 2014
Review by Christopher Silvester in the Financial Times, dated 28 February, 2014.
Review by Roger Lewis in the Daily Mail, dated 20 February, 2014.
Place and publisher: London: Faber and Faber
Date of publication: 2014
Number of pages: 608
From the publishers:
This book examines, for the first time, the history of the social, cultural, political and economic presence of the French in London, and explores the multiple ways in which this presence has contributed to the life of the city.
The capital has often provided a place of refuge, from the Huguenots in the 17th century, through the period of the French Revolution, to various exile communities during the 19th century, and on to the Free French in the Second World War.It also considers the generation of French citizens who settled in post-war London, and goes on to provide insights into the contemporary French presence by assessing the motives and lives of French people seeking new opportunities in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It analyses the impact that the French have had historically, and continue to have, on London life in the arts, gastronomy, business, industry and education, manifest in diverse places and institutions from the religious to the political via the educational, to the commercial and creative industries.
Table of contents:
- Introduction: ‘The French in London: a study in time and space', Martyn Cornick & Debra Kelly
- ‘A special case? London's French Protestants', Elizabeth Randall
- ‘Montagu House, Bloomsbury: a French household in London, 1673-1733', Paul Boucher & Tessa Murdoch
- ‘The novelty of the French emigrés in London in the 1790s', Kirsty Carpenter
Note: French Catholics in London after 1789
- ‘Courts in exile: Bourbons, Bonapartes and Orléans in London, from George III to Edward VII', Philip Mansel
- ‘The French in London during the 1830s: multidimensional occupancy', Máire Cross
- ‘Introductory exposition: French republicans and communists in exile to 1848', Fabrice Bensimon
- ‘The French left in exile: Quarante-huitards and Communards in London, 1848-80', Thomas C. Jones & Robert Tombs
- ‘”Almost the only free city in the world”: mapping out the French anarchist presence in London, late 1870s-1914', Constance Bantman
- ‘Experiencing French cookery in nineteenth-century London', Valerie Mars
- ‘The London French from the Belle Epoque to the end of the inter-war period (1880-1939)', Michel Rapoport
- ‘French cultural diplomacy in early twentieth-century London', Charlotte Faucher & Philippe Lane
- ‘Mapping Free French London: places, spaces, traces', Debra Kelly
- ‘"The first bastion of the Resistance": the beginnings of the Free French in London, 1940-1', Martyn Cornick
- ‘Raymond Aron and La France Libre (June 1940-September 1944)', David Drake
- ‘From the 16ème to South Ken? A study of the contemporary French population in London', Saskia Huc-Hepher & Helen Drake
- Conclusion: ‘A temporal and spatial mapping of the French in London', Debra Kelly
Place and publisher: London: Institute of Historical Research
Date of publication: 2013
Number of pages: 516
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