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Embodying History for Social Change in Jules Michelet’s Le Peuple

Embodying History for Social Change in Jules Michelet’s Le Peuple <p>Abstract:</p><p>In his 1846 history-from-below, <i>Le Peuple</i>, Michelet presents himself as the embodiment of the history of France in order to reach beyond the discursive and effect social change. Unlike many of his other histories, in which an allegory of the body is used in the service of an overarching national or political narrative, the body in <i>Le Peuple</i> is quite literally the historian’s own body. I argue that Michelet is not “sourd à son temps” as Barthes claimed in 1954, but rather deeply engaged in the development of a pre-Marxian working-class identity. In this paper, I demonstrate that the popular history, <i>Le Peuple</i>, posits the historian’s organic body as a place where physical and intellectual labor can be united, and that this embodiment, far from being a mere rhetorical technique, was intended to solve the complicated “social problem” of the 1840s.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nineteenth-Century French Studies University of Nebraska Press

Embodying History for Social Change in Jules Michelet’s Le Peuple

Nineteenth-Century French Studies , Volume 47 (3) – Apr 19, 2019

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Nebraska Press
ISSN
1536-0172

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>In his 1846 history-from-below, <i>Le Peuple</i>, Michelet presents himself as the embodiment of the history of France in order to reach beyond the discursive and effect social change. Unlike many of his other histories, in which an allegory of the body is used in the service of an overarching national or political narrative, the body in <i>Le Peuple</i> is quite literally the historian’s own body. I argue that Michelet is not “sourd à son temps” as Barthes claimed in 1954, but rather deeply engaged in the development of a pre-Marxian working-class identity. In this paper, I demonstrate that the popular history, <i>Le Peuple</i>, posits the historian’s organic body as a place where physical and intellectual labor can be united, and that this embodiment, far from being a mere rhetorical technique, was intended to solve the complicated “social problem” of the 1840s.</p>

Journal

Nineteenth-Century French StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Apr 19, 2019

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