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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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Separation: The Moment of Death and the Lying-in-State

Separation: The Moment of Death and the Lying-in-State

(p.271) 10 Separation: The Moment of Death and the Lying-in-State
Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996

Avner Ben-Amos

Oxford University Press

Although a state funeral in France was a public event, its point of departure was always private: the house or the apartment where the great man had lived and where, usually, he had died. This dichotomy between the private and the public complicated the structure of the ceremony and created numerous difficulties, both for the Republic and for the family of the great man. The separation between the private domain and the public domain, the home and the place of work, became evident in the case of civic festivals in general and of state funerals. In general, a republican funeral — whether it was an act opposing or upholding a regime — was, by definition, an event in which the public prevailed over the private. The widow or the children could retreat to the private domain, but the great man always remained after his death at the centre of the stage. This chapter discusses the distinction between ‘bad’ death and good death and examines the concept of the lying-in-state.

Keywords:   state funerals, lying-in-state, great man, good death, bad death, civic festivals, republican funeral, France

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