New Books Network

Sun-Young Park, “Ideals of the Body: Architecture, Urbanism, and Hygiene in Postrevolutionary Paris” (U Pittsburgh Press, 2018)
We know quite a bit about the physical signatures of urban “modernity” foisted upon Paris by Baron Haussmann in the late nineteenth century — the broad boulevards, networked infrastructures, connected apartment houses, and assorted monuments — but little scholarship has seized on its precursors in the half-century prior. In Ideals... Read More
Benoît Majerus, “From the Middle Ages to Today: Experiences and Representations of Madness in Paris” (Parigramme, 2018)
With Paris as the organizing locus of his new book, Du moyen âge à nos jours, expériences et représentations de la folie à Paris [From the Middle Ages to Today, Experiences and Representations of Madness in Paris], Benoît Majerus uses an impressively wide range of visual sources, from religious images and... Read More
Julian Jackson, “De Gaulle” (Harvard UP, 2018)
Charles de Gaulle is one of the greatest figures of twentieth-century history. If Sir Winston Churchill was (in the words of Harold Macmillan) the “greatest Englishman In history,” then Charles de Gaulle was without a doubt, the greatest Frenchman since Napoleon Bonaparte. Why so? In the early summer of 1940,... Read More
Denis Provencher, “Queer Maghrebi French: Language, Temporalities, Transfiliations” (Liverpool UP, 2017)
Sometimes a book can take inspiration from a (not so) simple map. At the end of his previous book, Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship (Routledge, 2007), Denis Provencher discusses a map of “gay Paris” drawn by Samir, one of his French interlocutors of North African descent. Samir’s queer... Read More
Andrew S. Curran, “Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely” (Other Press, 2019)
Denis Diderot has long been regarded as one of the leading figures of the French Enlightenment, thanks to his editorship of the influential multi-volume Encyclopédie. As Andrew S. Curran explains in his biography Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely (Other Press, 2019) however, this was just one product of his wide-ranging literary efforts.... Read More
Paola Bertucci, “Artisanal Enlightenment: Science and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France” (Yale UP, 2017)
Paola Bertucci‘s Artisanal Enlightenment: Science and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France (Yale University Press, 2017) is an innovative new look at the role of artisans in the French Enlightenment.  As savants attempted to appropriate leadership of the mechanical arts while deriding artisans as mere laborers, some of these... Read More
Danna Agmon, “A Colonial Affair: Commerce, Conversion, and Scandal in French India” (Cornell UP, 2017)
People sometimes forget—if they are even aware—that France’s empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries included a colonial presence in South Asia, a presence that at one time rivaled that of the British. Danna Agmon’s A Colonial Affair: Commerce, Conversion, and Scandal in French India (Cornell University, 2017) zooms in... Read More