Soldiers and Sailors of France in the American War for Independence (1776-1783)

Soldiers and Sailors of France in the American War for Independence (1776-1783)

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Soldiers and Sailors of France in the American War for Independence (1776-1783)

Soldiers and Sailors of France in the American War for Independence (1776-1783)

Read FREE!

Excerpt

When the war called him to the colors, early in August, 1914, Joachim Merlant, professor of French literature at the University of Montpellier, a former pupil of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, was the author of several valuable books dealing mainly with problems of "interior life." Works like his doctor dissertation, Le Roman personnel de Rousseau à Fromentin (1905), or like a collection of essays on introspective moralists, De Montaigne à Vauvenargues (1914), subtle studies of the main apostles of intuition and of self-culture, had made him, more or less, an intellectual inhabitant of the socalled "Ivory Tower." Of a rather frail constitution, moreover, Merlant seemed less fitted for action than for contemplation, and even for a kind of réverie which, aloof from daily interests, is more concerned with the events of the inner individual than with external issues.

But here is the wonderful fact: this "intellectual," this devoted reader of Senancour and of many others who, fokir-like, had taken a supreme interest in the delicate shades of their interior life, found in the very trend of his studies the best reason for an admirable firmness of decision, simplicity of purpose, frankness of attitude -- all the virtues, in fact, which an easy shortsightedness often attributes to so-called "temperaments of action." A devoted father, a man with strong religious feelings, Merlant had, of course, other resources on which to rely for his attitude of heroism and sacrifice.

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