By Benoît Garnot

Le brigandage peut être défini comme une forme de professionnalisation du crime, parfois individuelle, souvent collective. Il inclut les bandits de grand chemin, évidemment, mais aussi les contrebandiers, les escrocs, l. a. pègre urbaine, ainsi que les diverses formes de criminalité accompagnées de violence, à situation que l’appât du achieve soit leur motivation principale. Il culmine dans ce qu’on a pris l’habitude d’appeler aujourd’hui le « crime organisé », appellation récente, certes, mais qui recouvre une réalité multiséculaire.
Les brigands sont présentés ici dans l’espace français, du Moyen Âge à nos jours. Pendant cette longue période, ils ont évolué à l’instar de l. a. société environnante, dont ils n’ont jamais cessé de faire partie, d’une manière ou d’une autre, puisqu’ils en sont issus et puisqu’ils vivent d’elle. Brigands imaginés, brigands réels, brigands en motion, brigands en justice, sont les thèmes abordés successivement, tels qu’ils ont été renouvelés par l’historiographie récente.
L’ouvrage s’enrichit aussi de nombreux files d’époque, d’une bibliographie et d’un glossaire.

Benoît Garnot, agrégé d’histoire et docteur ès lettres, est professeur d’histoire moderne à l’université de Bourgogne. Auteur d’une quarantaine d’ouvrages, il a contribué à renouveler l’histoire de l. a. justice et de l. a. criminalité dans l. a. France moderne.

1. Brigands imaginés
Une mythologie
Bons et mauvais brigands
Brigands et littérature
Brigand et cinéma

2. Brigands réels
Un profil-type
L'entrée en brigandage
Un cas d'école : los angeles formation des bandes

3. Brigands en motion
Les objectifs
Les méthodes
Les réseaux

4. Brigands en justice
La législation
Les moyens d'action
La répression

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Each sex is called to the kind of occupation which is fitting for it; its action is circumscribed within this circle which it cannot break through, because nature, which has imposed these limits on man, commands imperiously and receives no law. Whereas man was fit for all the tasks of public life which demanded strength, intelligence and character, women had other functions to fulfil: ‘To begin educating men, to prepare children’s minds and hearts for public virtues, to direct them early in life towards the good, to elevate their souls, to educate them in the political cult of liberty: such are their functions, after household cares.

In the words of Article 10: ‘Woman has the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally have the right to mount the rostrum’. 7 Though intended primarily to be a statement of abstract principles, de Gouges’s text was not free from special pleading for women qua women. When it suited her purpose, she was ready both to strike a personal note and to invoke feminine stereotypes as elements in her rhetorical strategy. In her Preamble, for instance, she refers to ‘the sex that is as superior in beauty as it is in courage during the sufferings of maternity’, and in Article 11, which affirmed the right to free speech, she makes the point that such a right is of particular concern to abandoned mothers seeking support from the fathers of their illegitimate children.

The divorce law of 1792 was not feminist in inspiration, but rather an element integral to the revolutionaries’ vision of a new and regenerated secular society. Nevertheless, it was an extremely liberal measure and was made even more liberal by the law of 4 floréal, Year II, which permitted divorce to a husband or wife who could produce evidence of the absence of the other spouse over a period of six months. Many women seized the opportunity to rid themselves of unsatisfactory husbands. Some 30,000 divorces were granted between 1792 and 1803, the great majority of them affecting urban rather than rural couples (with Paris alone responsible for some 13,200 divorces, compared with 1049 in Lyon and 1046 in Rouen).

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