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Family on Trial in Revolutionary France

ISBN-10: 0520248163
ISBN-13: 9780520248168
Edition: 2006
Authors: Suzanne Desan
List price: $34.95 Buy it from $24.09
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Description: In a groundbreaking book that challenges many assumptions about gender and politics in the French Revolution, Suzanne Desan offers an insightful analysis of the ways the Revolution radically redefined the family and its internal dynamics. She shows  More...

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Book details

List price: $34.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 6/19/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 470
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.980
Language: English

In a groundbreaking book that challenges many assumptions about gender and politics in the French Revolution, Suzanne Desan offers an insightful analysis of the ways the Revolution radically redefined the family and its internal dynamics. She shows how revolutionary politics and laws brought about a social revolution within households and created space for thousands of French women and men to reimagine their most intimate relationships. Families negotiated new social practices, including divorce, the reduction of paternal authority, egalitarian inheritance for sons and daughters alike, and the granting of civil rights to illegitimate children. Contrary to arguments that claim the Revolution bound women within a domestic sphere,The Family on Trialmaintains that the new civil laws and gender politics offered many women unexpected opportunities to gain power, property, or independence. The family became a political arena, a practical terrain for creating the Republic in day-to-day life. From 1789, citizens across France--sons and daughters, unhappily married spouses and illegitimate children, pamphleteers and moralists, deputies and judges--all disputed how the family should be reformed to remake the new France. They debated how revolutionary ideals and institutions should transform the emotional bonds, gender dynamics, legal customs, and economic arrangements that structured the family. They asked how to bring the principles of liberty, equality, and regeneration into the home. And as French citizens confronted each other in the home, in court, and in print, they gradually negotiated new domestic practices that balanced Old Regime customs with revolutionary innovations in law and culture. In a narrative that combines national-level analysis with a case study of family contestation in Normandy, Desan explores these struggles to bring politics into households and to envision and put into practice a new set of familial relationships.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Freedom of the Heart: Men and Women Critique Marriage
The Political Power of Love: Marriage, Regeneration, and Citizenship
Broken Bonds: The Revolutionary Practice of Divorce
"War Between Brothers and Sisters": Egalitarian Inheritance and Gender Politics
Natural Children, Abandoned Mothers, and Emancipated Fathers: Illegitimacy and Unwed Motherhood
What Makes a Father? Illegitimacy and Paternity from the Year II to the Civil Code
Reconstituting the Social After the Terror: The Backlash Against Family Innovations
The Genesis of the Civil Code
Conclusion
Communes in the Calvados Studied for Cases of Divorce
Chronology of Revolutionary Family Laws and Decrees
Note on Archival Sources
Abbreviations
Notes
Index

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