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The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing$
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J. B. Bullen

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128885.001.0001

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The Rediscovery of the Renaissance Michelet and Quinet

The Rediscovery of the Renaissance Michelet and Quinet

Chapter:
(p.156) 8 The Rediscovery of the Renaissance Michelet and Quinet
Source:
The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing
Author(s):

J. B. BULLEN

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128885.003.0009

When in 1855 Jules Michelet opened his seventh volume of the Histoire de France, Renaissance, he was determined to show that the Renaissance was a triumphant moment in the progressive evolution of human society. The volume, together with that of Edgar Quinet, effectively reversed the hitherto powerful denigration of the period by its critics. Michelet’s Renaissance and Quinet’s Les Revolutions d’Italie (1849), offered for many years, the most authoritative and influential treatment of the Renaissance. Far from being the fruit of scholarly objectivity, it was the work of two men violently caught up in the revolutionary politics of France — men whose life and livelihood was threatened by their political enemies, and whose principal weapon against calumny, criticism, and abuse was historiography. In this way, the history of the Renaissance was revised in the lurid glow of the 1848 Revolution.

Keywords:   Jules Michelet, Renaissance, Edgar Quinet, France, history, historiography, revolution, politics

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