National Character and Public Spirit in Britain and France, by Roberto Romani

By Roberto Romani

In a piece of surprising ambition and rigorous comparability, Roberto Romani considers the concept that of "national personality" within the highbrow histories of england and France. Perceptions of collective mentalities prompted quite a few political and financial debates, starting from anti-absolutist polemic in eighteenth-century France to value determinations of socialism in Edwardian Britain. Romani argues that the eighteenth-century concept of "national character", with its rigidity on weather and govt, advanced right into a challenge with the virtues of "public spirit" regardless of nationwide characteristics, in parallel with the institution of consultant associations at the Continent.

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Modified); CXLVI, pp. 335–7; see also the following texts by Montesquieu: Consid´erations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur d´ecadence, ed. J. Ehrard (1734; Paris, 1968), ch. 21, p. 167; ‘Lettres de X´enocrate a Ph´er`es’ (1723–4), OC, I, pp. 517–18; ‘Mes pens´ees’, p. 1327 (‘J’appelle g´enie d’une nation les mœurs et le caract`ere d’esprit de diff´erents peuples dirig´es par l’influence d’une mˆeme cour et d’une mˆeme capitale’). LP, CIV, p. 190). On English character see LP, CIV, pp.

239; trans. modified); Dictionnaire philosophique, pp. 279 (‘Goˆut’), 383–4 (‘Homme’); Essai sur les mœurs, XII, ch. 155, pp. 433–4; Lettres philosophiques, p. 111 (‘Sur le commerce’), 179–82 (‘Sur la consid´eration qu’on doit aux gens de lettres’). 57 Clearly enough, Voltaire adopted a climatological stance in order to make his political criticism more effective. 58 National character themes played a substantial part in the French philosophers’ discourse ultimately because they feared that the moral roots of society were in danger; this implied a dialectic between a reinvented original identity of France (through its history as well as the indestructible properties of its soil and climate) and its present corruption.

292–7 (Political Writings, trans. D. Williams (Cambridge, 1994), p. 59); Le si`ecle de Louis XIV, p. 652; Essai sur les mœurs, XIII, ch. 180, pp. 61, 66–8; Lettres philosophiques (1734), VOC, XXII, pp. 104–5 (‘Sur le parlement’). Le si`ecle de Louis XIV, pp. , 1063 (The Age of Louis XIV and Other Selected Writings, trans. J. H. Brumfitt (Washington, 1966), p. 239; trans. modified); Dictionnaire philosophique, pp. 279 (‘Goˆut’), 383–4 (‘Homme’); Essai sur les mœurs, XII, ch. 155, pp. 433–4; Lettres philosophiques, p.

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