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Public Commemorations And Private Interests: The Politics Of State Funerals In London And Paris, 1806–1810

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Chapter Summary

By examining publicly staged commemorations that were organised in London and Paris in the years 1806 and 1810, respectively, this chapter reexamines the degree to which early nineteenth-century elites had opened their ranks to their fellow nationals. It questions whether these men, unlike what Catherine Macaulay might have hoped for women, had as yet no need to expect any public recognition or participate in the recording of the supposedly national past. The chapter argues that the champ politique - namely, a social microcosm is regulated through the possession of forms of 'capital' - retained control over state funerals. Traditionally, funerary ceremonies and monuments sustained the elite's role as narrator of history. By 1800, this monopoly on dictating the past was no longer uncontested. Yet, elites were not easily defeated. The chapter also argues that one of the tools they resorted to was hero glorification, in order to defend their power.

Keywords: Catherine Macaulay; champ politique; London; Paris; public commemorations; state funerals



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