The fourth and final volume in Pierre Nora's monumental series documenting the history and culture of France takes a self-reflective turn. The eleven essays collected here consider the texts and places that make up the collective memory of the history of France, a country whose people are extraordinarily self-conscious of history and their place in it. Distinguished contributors look at the medieval Grands chroniques de France and the monasteries and chancelleries that produced them, the establishment of Versailles as a historical museum, and Pierre Larousse's Grand dictionnaire, an important touchstone of cultural memory. Other essays range in topic from the creation of the National Archives, a curiously organised catacomb of manuscripts, to Annales, a publication begun in 1929 that profoundly revitalised the study of history in France. Taken together these richly detailed essays fully explore the multifaceted ways France has institutionalised its history and are, along with the rest of Les Lieux de mémoire, a crucial part of that process.
The d.j. shows very slight signs of handling, but the book is otherwise as new.