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Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996$
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Avner Ben-Amos

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203285.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996

Avner Ben-Amos

Oxford University Press

This book examines the nature and dimensions of the state funerals of modern France, why and how they acquired such a prominent place in the country's political culture, the attempt of the regime to orchestrate its meaning, the resistance to this attempt, and the way the ceremony brings about a complex interplay of remembrance and forgetting. The dual character of the ceremony, a political event and the final rite of passage in a man's life, is the underlying explanation. For the republicans, the ceremony was especially propitious since they were in need of powerful pedagogical means through which they would be able to reach the masses. The grand burial ceremonies were financed and organized by the Third Republic. This book considers the emergence of republican state funerals during the French Revolution, the state funerals of kings and emperors, subversive and revolutionary funerals, civil funerals, the state funeral as civic festival, and the funerals of politicians, soldiers and colonizers, scientists, writers, and musicians.

Keywords:   France, state funerals, French Revolution, kings, emperors, political culture, republicans, remembrance, forgetting, burial ceremonies

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