By Sudhir Hazareesingh

Why are the French such a very good country? Why do they suspect they're so extraordinary? The French take pleasure within the undeniable fact that their heritage and tradition have decisively formed the values and beliefs of the fashionable international. French rules are not any much less certain of their shape: whereas French inspiration is summary, trendy and infrequently opaque, it has consistently been daring and artistic, and pushed by way of the relentless pursuit of innovation.

In How the French Think, the internationally-renowned historian Sudhir Hazareesingh tells the epic and tumultuous tale of French highbrow notion from Descartes, Rousseau, and Auguste Comte to Sartre, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Derrida. He exhibits how French pondering has formed primary Westerns principles approximately freedom, rationality, and justice, and the way the French frame of mind is in detail hooked up to their very own manner of life—in specific to the French tendency in the direction of individualism, their ardour for nature, their get together in their old background, and their fascination with loss of life. Hazareesingh explores the French veneration of dissent and skepticism, from Voltaire to the Dreyfus Affair and past; the obsession with the security of French language and tradition; the rhetorical aptitude embodied by way of the philosophes, which today’s intellectuals nonetheless attempt to recapture; the surprising effect of French postmodern thinkers, together with Foucault and Barthes, on postwar American schooling and lifestyles, and in addition the transforming into French anxiousness a couple of globalized international order below American hegemony.

How the French Think sweeps apart generalizations and straightforward stereotypes to supply an incisive and revealing exploration of the French highbrow culture. Steeped in a colourful diversity of assets, and written with heat and humor, this publication will attract all enthusiasts of France and of ecu tradition.

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Additional info for How the French Think: An Affectionate Portrait of an Intellectual People

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Escape from the torrents of urine would have been difficult in the narrow streets, and the Pont Notre-Dame and the Pont-au-Change leading to the Right Bank might both have been too crowded or too far away for escape. People, horses, carts, hawkers, beggars, and bankers jammed these bridges from morning until night. Garbage, manure, and mud lay as much as a foot deep on the surrounding streets. But for those who could take their eyes off Gargantua, there were other things to see. There was the cathedral itself.

The stakes and ashes on the Place Maubert impressed students and citizens tempted by Calvinism, but fear alone could not have kept Paris from going Protestant. Fanatical preaching and sober thinking on the part of clergy, judges, and merchants attached to the Crown and to Spain helped give the emotional horror of public executions an intellectual basis. The circle of abbeys surrounding the Left Bank began again at the Seine, just a few streets east of the Place Maubert. 01 9/25/02 8:00 AM Page 39 39 A Tr a v e l e r ’s Vi e w i n 1 6 0 0 the residence of the Knights of Malta.

Despite repairs under Francis I, from the fifteenth century on the Châtelet was partly in ruins, as shown in a Silvestre engraving of about 1650. Beyond the Châtelet stood the central commercial and marketing section of Paris. After Philip Augustus established the Halles there as a kind of perpetual fair, the Right Bank became the stronghold of commercial society in Paris. Street names were usually functional: the rue de la Savonnerie (soap), rue de la Chausseterie (stockings), rue de la Cossonnerie (fowl), and rue de la Lingerie (linens).

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