Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870

TitleSoldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHopkin, David M.
Number of Pages407
PublisherBoydell Press
CityWoodbridge, UK

"Revolutionary France bequeathed to the modern world the concept of the 'nation-in-arms', a potent brew of nationalism, militarism and republicanism embodied in the figure of the conscript. But it was not a concept shared by those most affected by conscription, the peasantry." "In the popular culture of rural France the soldier was not considered as the representative of the nation but rather of a different way of life. At best soldiers were 'prodigal sons', who spent their lives in debauchery; at worst they belonged to a separate race which had more in common with the nobility than the laborious peasant. These views originated in the ancien regime, but they still found utterance after the Franco-Prussian war.". "Concentrating on the militarised borderlands of eastern France, this book examines the disjuncture between the patriotic expectations of elites and the sentiments expressed in folksongs, folktales and popular imagery, in which issues of sexuality, violence and separation took far greater prominence. Hopkin follows the soldier through his life-cycle, from greenhorn recruit to grizzled veteran, to show how the peasant conscript was separated from his previous life and re-educated in military mores (and the response that this transformation elicited from his family and community)."--BOOK JACKET.

Short TitleSoldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture
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