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‘Il fut bon père’: the Institut de France, funeral eulogies and the formation of bourgeois identity in early nineteenth-century France

The lay eulogy, given by a friend, colleague or relative of the deceased, was a new element in French religious funerals at the beginning of the nineteenth century, emerging indirectly from a wider programme of post-Revolutionary funerary reforms. The innovation attracted criticism from a range of p... Full description

Journal Title: French History 2015, Vol. 29(2), pp.204-224
Main Author: Arnold, James
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language:
Subjects:
ID: ISSN: 0269-1191 ; E-ISSN: 1477-4542 ; DOI: 10.1093/fh/cru079
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recordid: oxford10.1093/fh/cru079
title: ‘Il fut bon père’: the Institut de France, funeral eulogies and the formation of bourgeois identity in early nineteenth-century France
format: Article
creator:
  • Arnold, James
subjects:
  • History & Archaeology
ispartof: French History, 2015, Vol. 29(2), pp.204-224
description: The lay eulogy, given by a friend, colleague or relative of the deceased, was a new element in French religious funerals at the beginning of the nineteenth century, emerging indirectly from a wider programme of post-Revolutionary funerary reforms. The innovation attracted criticism from a range of political viewpoints, for offending against the virtues of truth, equality and good taste, or usurping the rights of the church. In response, its promoters crafted a nuanced set of justifications, grounding the eulogy in the long French tradition of ecclesiastical oratory, while selectively interpreting that tradition to depict it as congruent with modern inclinations towards sensation, emotional display and democratic self-expression. This article traces the contours of these debates, and explores early examples of the lay eulogy, arguing that its principal function was to send out messages about developing notions of bourgeois sociability and identity.
language:
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0269-1191 ; E-ISSN: 1477-4542 ; DOI: 10.1093/fh/cru079
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0269-1191
  • 02691191
  • 1477-4542
  • 14774542
url: Link


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title‘Il fut bon père’: the Institut de France, funeral eulogies and the formation of bourgeois identity in early nineteenth-century France
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abstractThe lay eulogy, given by a friend, colleague or relative of the deceased, was a new element in French religious funerals at the beginning of the nineteenth century, emerging indirectly from a wider programme of post-Revolutionary funerary reforms. The innovation attracted criticism from a range of political viewpoints, for offending against the virtues of truth, equality and good taste, or usurping the rights of the church. In response, its promoters crafted a nuanced set of justifications, grounding the eulogy in the long French tradition of ecclesiastical oratory, while selectively interpreting that tradition to depict it as congruent with modern inclinations towards sensation, emotional display and democratic self-expression. This article traces the contours of these debates, and explores early examples of the lay eulogy, arguing that its principal function was to send out messages about developing notions of bourgeois sociability and identity.
pubOxford University Press
doi10.1093/fh/cru079
date2015-06