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Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996$
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Avner Ben-Amos

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203285.001.0001

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The French Revolution and the Emergence of Republican State Funerals 1789–1799

The French Revolution and the Emergence of Republican State Funerals 1789–1799

Chapter:
(p.16) (p.17) 1 The French Revolution and the Emergence of Republican State Funerals 1789–1799
Source:
Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996
Author(s):

Avner Ben-Amos

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203285.003.0002

The history of republican funerals during the revolutionary decade is also the story of their emergence as a distinct and important form of celebration. Transforming the final rite of passage in man's life into a political event was not, of course, a republican innovation. In France, royal funerals were ceremonies of power long before the French Revolution, but during most of the Old Regime they played a minor role among the monarchical rites. During the French Revolution, in contrast, state funerals were crucial in the transfer of the sacred from the Christian values that were the basis of the monarchy to the new, revolutionary ones. This chapter describes the general contours of several types of republican funerary rites that would continue to appear during the nineteenth and twentieth century. It examines royal funerals before the French Revolution, the republican funerals of the French Revolution, and the state funerals of Mirabeau, Voltaire, Michel Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, and Jean-Paul Marat. Funerals of integration after Thermidor are also considered.

Keywords:   France, state funerals, French Revolution, final rite of passage, Voltaire, Michel Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, Jean-Paul Marat, Thermidor, celebration, republican funerals

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