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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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The Third Republic: The State Funeral as Civic Festival 1879–1940

The Third Republic: The State Funeral as Civic Festival 1879–1940

(p.136) 5 The Third Republic: The State Funeral as Civic Festival 1879–1940
Funerals, Politics, and Memory in Modern France, 1789–1996

Avner Ben-Amos

Oxford University Press

When Jules Grevy, a moderate who belonged to the generation of 1848, became president of France, the Third Republic was at last fully republican. One might have supposed that this triumph would end the era of massive, republican funeral ceremonies. But once in power, and until the demise of the Third Republic in 1940, the republicans repeatedly turned the funerals of their great men into grand celebratory events. In fact, the Third Republic was not unique among modern, industrial regimes to use the dead and the symbols associated with them. This chapter discusses state funerals as civic festivals in France during the period 1879–1940, the role of education in understanding the state funerals, the unique features of the civic festival as an educational instrument, state funerals as expressions of two popular nineteenth-century cults, reform of the ceremonial of death, republican attempts to reopen the gates of the Panthéon, and the role of state funerals in preserving the memory and history of the republic.

Keywords:   France, republicans, Third Republic, state funerals, civic festivals, education, cults, ceremonial of death, Panthéon, republican funerals

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