De Gaulle was an intelligent, hardworking, and zealous young soldier and, in his military career, a man of original mind, great self-assurance, and outstanding courage. In World War I he fought at Verdun , was three times wounded and three times mentioned in dispatches, and spent two years and eight months as a prisoner of war during which time he made five unsuccessful attempts to escape. From to de Gaulle served as a major in the army occupying the Rhineland and could see for himself both the potential danger of German aggression and the inadequacy of the French defense.
He also spent two years in the Middle East and then, having been promoted to lieutenant colonel , spent four years as a member of the secretariat of the National Defense Council.
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He also wrote a memorandum in which he tried, even as late as January , to convert politicians to his way of thinking. In May , after assuming command as temporary brigadier general in the 4th Armoured Division—the rank that he retained for the rest of his life—he twice had the opportunity to apply his theories on tank warfare. On June 18 he broadcast from London his first appeal to his compatriots to continue the war under his leadership.
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On August 2, , a French military court tried and sentenced him in absentia to death, deprivation of military rank, and confiscation of property. De Gaulle entered his wartime career as a political leader with tremendous liabilities. He had only a handful of haphazardly recruited political supporters and volunteers for what were to become the Free French Forces. He had no political status and was virtually unknown in both Britain and France. But he had an absolute belief in his mission and a conviction that he possessed the qualities of leadership.
He was totally devoted to France and had the strength of character or obstinacy, as it often appeared to the British to fight for French interests as he saw them with all the resources at his disposal. In he moved his headquarters to Algiers , where he became president of the French Committee of National Liberation, at first jointly with General Henri Giraud.
On September 9, , de Gaulle and his shadow government returned from Algiers to Paris. There he headed two successive provisional governments, but on January 20, , he abruptly resigned, apparently because of his irritation with the political parties forming the coalition government. In November the Fourth French Republic was declared, and until de Gaulle campaigned against its constitution, which, he charged, was likely to reproduce the political and governmental inadequacies of the Third Republic. He became dissatisfied with the RPF, however, and in severed his connection with it.
In it was disbanded. The last volume was completed only after his return to power in The reasons for their hesitation belong to the political history of the period. The opportunity presented itself in May when the insurrection that had broken out in Algiers threatened to bring civil war to France. De Gaulle must have seen his return to politics as the most carefully balanced calculation in a life that had had its share of political gambles. He was cautious, for it was by no means certain that the French parliament would accept his return on conditions that he could accept.
He affirmed his determination not to come to power by other than legal means, and there was never any evidence of his association with insurgent plans to bring him back; however, his carefully worded statements on May 15, 19, and 27 certainly helped the insurgents. On the following day he attended the parliamentary session after he was duly invested as prime minister that authorized him to reform the constitution and accorded him the special powers that he demanded.
On December 21, , de Gaulle was elected president of the republic.
The powers given to the president in the new constitution, which had been approved by referendum on September 28, , especially those providing for the use of the referendum and for presidential rule during a state of emergency, reflected his firm conviction that a strong state required a leader with the power to make decisions.
His tactics were first to obtain consent for the personal control of government policy by the president and then to ensure its renewal through elections or referenda.
He appeared on television several times a year. He relied as far as possible on ministers who were compagnons —those whose loyalties went back to the wartime days—and counted on their use of the constitutional provisions to curb the powers of the deputies to obstruct parliamentary business or harass governments.
De Gaulle retained the essential function of parliaments in a democracy—namely, the right to criticize governments and to withdraw confidence in them. There were frequent complaints of progovernmental bias on the radio, but these also had been common under pre-Gaullist regimes. Indeed, those criticisms were continual and widespread. The European residents of Algeria and their many supporters on the mainland, most of them politically conservative , wanted France to retain Algeria at all costs.
De Gaulle realized that he had no choice but to end the war, and, when he began peace negotiations with the FLN, French military leaders in Algiers turned against him, forming a rebel faction known as the Secret Army Organization OAS. De Gaulle responded vigorously, using the emergency powers permitted by the constitution of the Fifth Republic. The bloodletting, however, was not over.
Voir la carte du pays. Sur le plan linguistique, cette ancienne colonie belge est l'un des pays les plus multilingues de toute l'Afrique. Les paragraphes 7 et 8 de l'article 4 de la Constitution de portaient sur les langues. Alfonso, fils du premier roi converti, devint roi du Congo en et entreprit de christianiser le royaume. Mais tout se passa trop vite! Charte coloniale du 18 octobre Loi sur le gouvernement du Congo belge. L'emploi des langues est facultatif. Cultural anarchy ensued in the wake of the declaration of "freedom of the press. Pamphleteers reveled in anonymity, while literary pirates exploited the demise of authors' "privileges.
Once legalized and freed for all to copy and sell, the great texts of the Enlightenment fell out of print. The revolutionary reading market demanded novels and amusements, not science and useful knowledge. In the face of these first consequences of the freeing of the press, the cultural policy-makers in successive national assemblies came to recognize that they would have to intervene directly in the world of publishing if their ideal of an enlightened republic was to be realized. As a result, between and the republican government deployed a series of new initiatives intended to refound cultural life on liberal principles.
These republican experiments in democratizing the publishing world, however, were unable to avert a continuing commercial crisis in Paris publishing after Why did the laissez-faire policies of the republican government fail to produce a viable commercial book trade? How did the Napoleonic regime succeed in wedding the commercial interests of big printers and publishers to its own political needs? Finally, what were the consequences of the Napoleonic re-regulation of the printing and publishing world in for the character and future of French literary culture in the nineteenth century?
The cultural history of the French Revolution is above all a story of political conflict over cultural power—the power to create and circulate meanings, and the power to interpret them. How was this power to be embodied, distributed, organized, and regulated? The modern publishing world in France emerged as a result of repeated political struggles and negotiations between Paris publishers and the cultural policy-makers of the revolutionary governments between and , as they tried to reconcile their capitalist economic impulses with their enlightened cultural ideals.
It is only by reconstructing this story of the political revolution in publishing that we can begin fully to understand the process by which French literary culture issued from the salons of Voltaire into the commercial publishing world of Balzac. What did "freedom of the press" mean in practice? Traditional histories of press freedom in France have limited their inquiries to the story of the abolition of royal censorship.
The struggle against royal censorship was simply one aspect of a much broader assault on the entire literary system of the Old Regime. The destruction of that system would completely transform the legal, institutional, and economic realities of printing and publishing and, ultimately, the character of France's literary culture. Consider a few examples of what the freedom of the press meant to revolutionaries in The novelist Restif de la Bretonne wrote: "If you want freedom of the press, establish freedom of the professions.
Unless otherwise noted, all citations from French sources have been translated into English by the author. Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, [orig. Paris, —] ; Claude Bellanger, ed. Without this, thirty-six privileged printers will become more cruel tyrants of thought than all of the censors! Let us now recall all the kinds of tyranny. In all, seventeen inquisitions exercised in France upon the minds of citizens.
All texts should be freed from particular claims or "privileges" because "public interest is preferable to the mercantile interests of a few booksellers. The struggle for the freedom of the press was a struggle to found a new cultural regime based on principles derived from Enlightenment philosophy rather than divine right absolutism. This would require a reworking of the very terms and conditions by which ideas emerge and circulate in the world.
And it could only be achieved by dismantling and reconstructing the laws and institutions that organized the most basic elements of literary culture: authorship, printing, publishing, and book-selling. The philosophes of the mid-eighteenth century had reworked the epistemological basis of the origins and transmission of ideas.
The revolutionaries sought to embody and give life to this "revolution of the mind" in practice. The theoreticians of press freedom between and were not arguing simply about the policing of thought. They were arguing about where ideas come from, how they are to be transmitted, how and by whom the truth should be determined and, then, made known. Who had sovereignty in the world of ideas? A series of philosophical questions suddenly became political ones.
All citizens can, therefore, speak, write, and print freely. Over the. Along with so many other trade manuals, legal handbooks, and government directories, Lottin's Catalogue became obsolete—not to say antiquarian—almost overnight. Or did it? It is worth pausing briefly over Lottin's Catalogue because, broadly conceived, it presents us with a view of the world from one of the key nodes of state regulation of the printed word in Paris on the eve of the Revolution. In both its form and intent it reveals the place that one of the more conservative members of the Paris Book Guild sought to preserve for this institution in the larger order of things.
The title page of Lottin's work plate 1 is in itself a kind of catalogue of the essential features of licit publication of the printed word under the Old Regime. The symmetry and classical beauty of this work is a modest, but nonetheless monumental, testimony to Colbert's programmatic vision of the organization of commerce under the absolutist state. Reading from the bottom up, we find the king and his approbation of the publication of the work; the royally licensed printer-bookseller in Paris; and the dedication to the university, which was, at least in title, the governing body under whose purview the Paris Book Guild fell within the infrastructure of the royal administration.
The author of this tableau of the official process of publication figures nowhere on the title page. The king, as God's first representative on earth, is depicted as the sponsor of all knowledge made public through the medium of the printed word. Thus the work discloses its divine origin through the approbation of the king. On one side of his chronological tableau, Lottin presents the practitioners of the typographic arts, including not only printers and book-sellers, but engravers and type and paper manufacturers as well.
Listed alongside in parallel columns are the individuals whom Lottin describes as the "judges and protectors" of the typographic arts, those royal officials who inspected all printed matter and assessed its quality in both. Time divides neatly into centuries, reigns of kings, directorships of the Paris Book Guild, and, most importantly, family cycles, ordered chronologically and also alphabetically by both first and last names so as to emphasize every possible genealogical link. As centuries roll by, we see families rise and fall and rise again. The figures change, yet the essential structure persists.
The Catalogue is organized to place Paris at the center of French publishing, to disclose and stress the continuity and coherence of a closed corporate system of production, and to facilitate and encourage its persistence. The Chambre Syndicale de la Librairie et Imprimerie de Paris the Paris Book Guild was a self-regulating corporation of printers and booksellers in Paris, who by royal privilege enjoyed an exclusive monopoly on the production and distribution of printed matter in the capital city.
To become a printer also required the timely death of one of the select thirty-six and considerable savings to buy a shop and pay the stiff entrance fees exacted by the guild. According to Lottin, in the guild comprised printers and booksellers. Three separate branches of the Crown's administration were intimately related to guild affairs.
The single most important was the Administration of the Book Trade, a division of the Great Chancellery. The director of the book trade reported directly to the keeper of the seals, who in turn consulted, in particularly sensitive matters pertaining to the book trade, with the king's Council of State. This administration occupied itself at the national level with the organization of the book guilds in the major cities of France and supervised a national network of royal inspectors of the book trade.
The royal inspectors oversaw the activities and duties of the guilds in the cities to which they were assigned and, in conjunction with the postal service, were charged with surveillance of the foreign book trade at designated ports of entry into France. The Administration of the Book Trade also dispensed and registered literary "privileges," which were at once an official approbation of a work, a permission to print, and a kind of copyright, in that they gave the bearer an exclusive monopoly on the publication of a particular work or on publications in a given area of knowledge.
Finally, this office was charged with the delegation of manuscripts to the appropriate member of the corps of royal censors. In light of the censor's report, the Administration of the Book Trade then determined the legal status of a work submitted for publication. La Librairie et les pouvoirs," in Chartier and Martin eds. By law, no one but a registered member of one of the officially sanctioned royal book guilds was allowed to engage in the activities of printing, publishing, or selling printed works in France. In this regulation was modified to permit authors to publish and sell their own works.
The guild then sent the manuscript to the Administration of the Book Trade, where it was again registered and then sent on to a royal censor for evaluation. Upon the censor's report, the administration determined whether the publisher would be permitted to circulate the book and, if so, what level of approbation and protection the edition would receive. Any pirate editions or illicit works not bearing the name and address of a licensed guild publisher, a royal "privilege," and the approbation of a royal censor printed at the back of the book were confiscated to the advantage of the actual privilege holder, the Paris Book Guild, and the Administration of the Book Trade.
The printers and publishers of the city thus enjoyed protection against competition for their labor force and the licit literary market that they monopolized. Two other branches of the royal administration concerned themselves with the production and dissemination of printed works in the capital under the Old Regime. See H. These men were charged with the censorship of works printed and published in the capital shorter than three printer's sheets. They made regular visits, in conjunction with the book guild officers, to the establishments of the printers and booksellers of the city.
They were further charged, along with the postal service and the Paris customs officers, with the inspection of shipments of printed matter moving into or out of the city. The research findings of historians of eighteenth-century literature and the book trade allow us to flesh out the scheme left to us by Lottin and to situate his Paris-centered depiction in the context of the national administration of the book trade.
This corporatist system, the godchild of divine-right absolutism, was not, however, without its imbalances. The most striking disproportion, concealed by diagrams and maps, involved the increasing preeminence of the Paris Book Guild within the national system over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was also the most susceptible to surveillance. By royal decree, the number of Parisian printing establishments was fixed at three.
V1, cartons — As Lottin's attention to genealogy suggests, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Paris-centered family empires steadily consolidated a hegemonic grip on licit publishing under the Old Regime. Lottin was right to put Paris at the center of official publishing. It was. The figures for are fifty-one printing shops in Paris to thirty in Lyon nearest competitor ; and for , thirty-six in Paris to twelve in Lyon nearest competitor. Advantageously positioned at the heart of national administrative life, police power, and royal patronage, Parisian publishers steadily accumulated monopolies on the most lucrative privileges for the major texts of classical literary, religious, and legal civilization.
Massive bibliographic studies of the registers of the literary privileges and permissions granted by the royal Administration of the Book Trade and of officially sanctioned periodical literature in the eighteenth century have provided us with a fairly clear sense of what this system of licit publication produced. And, with a few notable exceptions, they also proved relatively inflexible in the face of new literary and intellectual movements or shifts in the demands of the reading market. The official world of corporate publishing in Paris was preeminent, but fossilized.
But Lottin himself, despite his desire to present a world of coherence and symmetry, was unavoidably aware that licit publishing was not the only publishing in Paris or in France. And in the mere act of documenting the official system over time, history inevitably intruded in Lottin's account. Thus, as the centuries of the tableau roll by, the thirty-six printers of Paris become slowly engulfed by increasing numbers of royal officers. The business of "judging and protecting" the printed word clearly thrived in the eighteenth century.
Clues like Lottin's unintentional revelations have led historians to uncover and map out a labyrinth of illegal publishing, which seethed underground and across the borders of France during the eighteenth century. Following the theses of Alexis de Tocqueville and Daniel Mornet, these scholars have sought to retrace the dissemination of revolutionary ideas in the century before the Revolution became a reality.
Bouillon," in ibid. On Geneva, see B. Lescaze, "Commerce d'assortissement et livres interdits. On the Low Countries, see Ch. On Lyon, see Darnton, Business of Enlightenment. Under the Old Regime there were thus two intersecting yet distinct systems of cultural production. In political terms, the one was legal and privileged: it received its justification and legitimation in the idea of the divine origins of all knowledge and in the right of the king as God's first representative to interpret God's knowledge and grant or revoke the privilege to make it public within his kingdom.
Economically, the one relied on corporate monopolies and closed markets; the other depended on market demand in the "booty capitalist" world beyond the law. Of course, characterizations of this sort are never as neat as they seem. By the end of the eighteenth century many, if not most, publishers, printers, and book dealers, as well as the royal officials who policed them, in reality conducted their businesses on both sides of the law.
Alternately, when Lottin, the former chief officer of the Paris Book Guild and official printer for the city of Paris and the king, set out to. Rather, he intended to be the Paris Book Guild's most erudite polemicist. Freedom of the press was declared through the convergence of mounting public demand for free exchange of political ideas in the s and the Crown's decision to permit discretionary tolerance in the months preceding the meeting of the Estates General in The prevailing mood of tolerance, reform, anticipation, and uncertainty surrounding the convocation of the Estates General gave rise to a storm of public debate, which expressed itself in a flurry of pamphlet literature and ephemeral journals.
It was not, however, until the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen on August 26, , that the government sanctioned the freedom of the press as a natural and inalienable right. From the official recognition of the abstract principle of press freedom a seemingly endless debate ensued in the National Assembly. The crux of the debate centered on the problem of drawing a just line between liberty and libel, and between opinion and sedition. To what extent could authors be held responsible for the consequences of their ideas? What would be the appropriate channels of recourse against slander?
In reading through the record of the National Assembly for and , one cannot help but be struck by what appears to be a major shift, almost overnight, in the orientation of state policy concerning the regulation of the printed word. It appears that the whole system of preventative censorship and corporate privilege, which the Bourbons had so ambitiously developed and Lottin had so painstakingly documented, became an instant nonissue.
The endless records of the discussion of press rights contain virtually no references to how printers and the book trade itself should be regulated. True, the debates in the Assembly were focused principally on the future constitution rather than on the present administration.
But did that mean anyone could print anything? Could anyone open a printing shop or go into the publishing business, or launch a newspaper or periodical? And what happened to the literary "privileges" of authors, printers, publishers, and booksellers? When the Crown announced the convocation of the Estates General and invited "educated persons" to comment, the Administration of the Book Trade, located in Paris, was already floundering in unsolicited.
V1, carton In the first few months of the Administration of the Book Trade faced an unprecedented problem: who would be permitted to document, report on, or discuss the Estates General in print? The king's appeal to the people for advice may have been interpreted as establishing liberty on the streets of Paris, but the Administration of the Book Trade was simultaneously marshaling all of its resources to retain its official monopoly on publications discussing the event.
By late January, a flood of pirate editions of the royal Lettre de convocation was inundating France.
File:Michelet - OC, Le Peuple, Nos fils.djvu
The imprimeurs du roi of the various cities of. By his own description, the high moment of Thiebault's literary career was his nomination through the influence of D'Alembert and D'Olivet to the Academy of Berlin in On the eve of the Revolution he also composed a Plan d'enseignement public; AN, ser. V1, carton . See also AN, ser. France challenged the monopoly of the Imprimerie Royale in Paris.
The pirating of official proclamations was the least of their problems. The Crown clearly had every intention of maintaining control over public discussion of the Estates General. Indeed, by February the keeper of the seals had appointed a royal censor to devote himself exclusively to works concerning the Estates General. Roysans, a royal censor, appealed to the Administration of the Book Trade for clarification of official policy: "M. Fouquet [the inspector at Caen] assured me during his last voyage that it was the government's intention to permit much greater liberty than before to discussions of political matters.
I would be extremely obliged, sir, to know what works are to be permitted. By the end of March even Thiebault was beginning to have doubts about. V1, carton , contains several letters from January and February pertaining to this incident, in particular, one dated February 15, Pouvin, "Commis par Msgr. Thus he inquired delicately of the keeper of the seals:.
Without wanting to tire you unduly, sire, I should draw to your attention that by all accounts it is clear that an infinite number of "Instructions" for the deputies to the Estates General are going to be published; that these "Instructions" are public acts, signed by those who edited them, and intended to serve as official mandates. Under these circumstances how are they to be censored? It is impossible to submit them to the formality of a "permission" without compromising their status.
These documents must be permitted to circulate freely. This is an irregularity, but it is involuntary and temporary. Thiebault's policy of temporary and discretionary suspension of censorship became the order of the day. Thus he responded, for Maissemy, to the censor Roysans:. Any publication that is not going to get people riled up or pitch the orders against one another can be advertised and analyzed in the periodical press. I had thought that I had devised a plan.
So we must resign ourselves to live in this disorder and to wait, with resignation, for happier times. This was true not only in matters of censorship, but also in relation to the pressing question among journalists as to who would receive the royal privilege to cover the Estates General in the periodical press. From January through May, the office was swamped with requests for privileges from various editors wishing to launch newspapers or journals under the title "The Estates General. Between January and June the Administration of the Book Trade received over twenty requests for exclusive privileges on a journal entitled "The Estates General.
V1, carton , Undated response by Thiebault from January-February; similar responses are given in March as well. In a letter of April 17, , he appealed directly to the minister of finance, Jacques Necker, arguing that he had the most rightful claim to exclusive coverage of the Estates General because, first, he owned the most extensive privileges for periodical publishing and, second, one of his journals, the Mercure , had given "detailed coverage of the Estates General of But Panckoucke ran up against a dead end: the royal government, Thiebault announced to a solicitor, had decided to leave to the Estates General itself the power and responsibility of "authorizing and monitoring" any publication pertaining to the assembly.
AA, carton 56, doc. V1, carton , Undated report of Thiebault from April-May In the months leading up to the meeting of the Estates General, the Crown was slowly ceding its sovereignty over the publication, and hence public interpretation, of political events.
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Thiebault wrote to the inspector at St-Malo in the early summer of that in matters of publishing and the press "we must await the future for laws, rules, or principles established by the Estates General. But for now I can only uphold the old regulations. But by the summer of the administration was collapsing from within. There were signs from early that the world of official publishing was beginning to fall apart. Fouquet, the inspector at Caen, requested a "leave of absence" in January. By August the whole system of censorship began to break down.
The baron de Dietrich, censor in Strasbourg, was out of work as well. The report on this affair reveals that censorship of both foreign and domestic periodicals had broken down completely. Thiebault and his assistants held out alone over the course of and But when the National Assembly did finally legislate on the Administration of the Book Trade in August , it was to suppress what was by then a mere skeleton. The municipality of Paris reserves for itself all that concerns the book trade in this city, and the other municipalities of the kingdom will doubtless follow this example.
It seems likely, moreover, that by a natural extension of the freedom of the press, the nomination of censors will no longer take place. If the municipalities take control of policing the book trade, they will want to decide for themselves on the number and selection of printers and booksellers. The general administration of the book trade will not continue in all these areas. The declaration of the freedom of the press and the demise of the royal Administration of the Book Trade, as Thiebault's final report suggests, did not mark an end to public regulation of the printed word.
Nor, by , had the National Assembly turned its attention to the implications of press freedom for the world of publishing and printing. Nonetheless, between and the character of state sovereignty in the world of ideas had been radically transformed. The system of publishing instituted by the divine-right absolutist monarchy had been brought to the ground. The seat of sovereignty in the publishing world had shifted from the king and his administration to the National Assembly and the Commune of Paris. It was now in these public assemblies rather than in the antechambers of Versailles that the meaning of freedom in the world of ideas would be interpreted and implemented.
Prepublication censorship of the printed word had been suppressed. The notion of privilege, in principle if not in substance, had. F17, carton , doss. But most significantly, the whole centralized administration of the publishing world had collapsed. As the Administration of the Book Trade crumbled the nation was rapidly inundated with an unprecedented volume of printed matter. And behind this craze lay a rapidly expanding printing trade. As early as December , royal officials reported that "the desire for printing shops has become so intense and so widespread that even hamlets will end up demanding them.
Yet when in August the National Assembly declared the freedom of the press, she jumped at the chance of having her own business. She begs you, sire, to honor her establishment with your. D4B6, carton , doss. On the one hand she asserted her natural right, while on the other she appealed for the privilege of royal protection. Never, in particular, has a woman been permitted to acquire a printing shop.
She can only keep one if she is the widow of a master printer. Further, they insisted, "freedom of the press" did not necessarily mean the freedom to print. But the royal administration was crumbling. They came rolling across the borders as well. Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais wrote to the Administration of the Book Trade on January 16, , announcing that he intended to "have his printing shop"—where he was printing his famous edition of Voltaire's Oeuvres — "shipped from Kehl to Paris.
The printers of Avignon, too, began to crawl over the borders into the newly liberated kingdom of France. Paris: LeCerf, , —, —; , ; and May-June As the legal and institutional infrastructure of official publishing folded between and , it was not just ephemeral literature that boomed in Paris. The underground subculture of Enlightenment publishing, which had evolved over the course of the century, at last emerged into the light of day from prisons, back alleys, and obscure suburbs, and crossed the borders to open shop in its spiritual home.
Paris, once the crowning jewel of absolutist publishing, was rapidly becoming the center from which to "spread light in all directions. The royal Administration of the Book Trade in France had collapsed by January , and it was not to be resuscitated for almost twenty years. In fact, its members were quietly holding a meeting to admit a new printer into their ranks on the very day that the Parisian masses toppled what had become the preeminent symbol of royal tyranny.
Indeed, the entries for the eighty-eight meetings of the guild over this period depict a world more reflective of urban corporate life during the late reign of Louis XIV than of Paris in the throes of revolution plate 2. Upon closer reading, of course, the great events of these years are visible, refracted dimly and elliptically through the lens of corporate.
The exile of the Parlement of Paris, for example, is quietly acknowledged by a notation of the absence of parliamentary representatives at the rector's procession on August 7, Yet it is the very historical dissonance of the register of the Paris Book Guild as a document of the Revolution and its anachronistic character that present the historical problem: What was the position of the Paris Book Guild on the eve of the Revolution?
What role did it play in the Revolution itself? Did the Guild form part of a corporatist-aristocratic reaction, as some historians have suggested? The Paris Book Guild was quick to mobilize its presses and its members to insure that it would be represented at the Estates General as a corporation. See also Etienne Martin St. The pamphlet went straight from his presses to its constituency, the guilds that elected the judges and counsellors of the city of Paris. By December 16, , Hardy records having acquired a copy of a petition of the Six Corporations of Paris calling for a more proportional representation of the Third Estate—that is, one cleric to two nobles to three members of the Third Estate, giving the Third Estate an assured representation of 50 percent.
On December 22, , the guild register recorded that "several members of the guild requested a general assembly of the guild in order to propose that the guild adhere to the petition of the Six Corporations. The guild officers dared to mention the purpose of this meeting only in a marginal note in the official register. Fortunately, Hardy was more forthcoming in his private journal:.
Sieur Cellot, publisher and former printer. But he was wisely and forcefully countered by sieur Charles-Guillaume LeClerc, publisher, former syndic, and former judge-counsellor of the city. His proposal passed by a vote of nineteen to fourteen. But as all of those who wanted to support the petition announced their discontent and left having refused to sign anything, this tumultuous assembly decided to defer the final deliberation.
We have no trace of the final outcome of the debate over the adherence of the Paris Book Guild to the petition for proportional representation. However, the Parlement did allow the Six Corporations to submit their. The debate in the Paris Book Guild over the petition made clear that their disagreement was over strategy rather than substance. The division—and it was close—was between the strident and the cautious.
At bottom guild members had firmly allied their interests with the Third Estate and were agitating, even if not officially, for enlarging that group's representation. At a purely legalistic level, this is not at all surprising. Nor was it particularly revolutionary by the end of December After all, the publishers, printers, and booksellers of Paris were formally members of the Third Estate. Furthermore, others were beginning to point out that real political change lay not merely in increasing the number of representatives of the Third Estate, but rather in putting an end to a political order based on the division of society into separate privileged estates.
The cultural politics behind the guild's support for the movement to double Third Estate representation were soon elucidated in a pair of anonymous pamphlets, Remerciment des libraires de la rue S. Because, the pamphlet explained, the decree would restore political order and in so doing put an end to public interest in the political ephemera sold in "that magical palace [the Palais Royal], which, like a sun sucking up water and leaving the plains desiccated, has consumed all the business in the capital.
Necker Paris: Desenne, Gattey, Petit, The pamphlet thus transformed the cultural geography of Paris into an allegory of the political debate between reformers, who wanted to modify the system of representation by orders, and revolutionaries, who wanted to abolish distinctions by order altogether. From the perspective of the Palais Royal, the doubling of the Third Estate was far from revolutionary.
On the contrary, it only served the interests of those bent on maintaining corporate privileges and distinctions—like those of the Paris Book Guild, whose members worked and lived on the rue St-Jacques. The privileged publishers, the booksellers of the Palais Royal taunted, could not survive in a competitive cultural world based on consumer demand rather than state monopolies. You feign jealousy of our place in the magic palace, but in reality it is you who control big publishing and bring so many volumes to the light of day.
And you have an interest in our being there, to expose your books to the gaze of the curious. We are there, from the first sound of the trumpet in the journals, to distribute [your works]. You know, dear colleagues, everything depends on timing, and no one knows better than us how to make the most of it.
The publishers of the rue St-Jacques, they urged, should abandon their defense of privileged orders and cultural monopolies and instead work together with the booksellers of the Palais Royal to take advantage of the opportunities that a publishing world based on free-market principles could offer in compensation. Some members of the Paris Book Guild were soon won over by arguments calling for an end to the division of public life into privileged orders. Nor was it merely the reestablishment of "credit and confidence" that the guild hoped to achieve from the opportunity for reform presented by the convocation of the Estates General.
It allows us to locate the posture of the guild in relation to the royal administration on the eve of the Revolution. Your elevation to Minister of Laws has given hope to the Book Trade. Ten years have sufficed to reveal the vices of the new regime. On the eve of the Revolution, the Paris Book Guild was already at war with the Crown and its administration, and had been for over ten years. As far as the guild was concerned, the "old regime" had come under. For the officers of the Paris Book Guild, the convocation of the Estates General represented an opportunity to restore rather than to dismantle the corporate publishing monopolies of the Old Regime.
The dispute between the Paris Book Guild and the Crown was no small squabble. The decrees of had represented the culmination of a fifty-year debate between the Crown and the Paris Corporation of Printers and Publishers concerning the nature and duration of royal literary privileges. The royal Code de la librairie , established to regulate the Parisian publishing world in , and extended to the entire nation in , had defined a literary "privilege" as at once an official approbation of the work, a permission to publish, and a kind of copyright, in that a privilege assured its holder a legal exclusivity on the commercial publication of the work.
To protect their monopoly against the protests of excluded provincial publishers, the Paris publishers began in the late seventeenth century to evolve their own interpretation of the meaning of the literary privilege.
Ironically, the argument that ideas were the property of the individual author was first advanced in defense of the monopoly of the Paris Book Guild on texts whose authors were long since dead. By the middle of the eighteenth century the issue of literary privileges became caught up in a more general movement by enlightened royal officials to deregulate commercial life, including commerce in ideas, by dismantling the corporate monopolies created by Colbert. Although the royal reformer A. In the decrees the king's council made its interpretation of "privilege" explicitly clear: "A privilege for a text is a grace founded in Justice.