Village Notables in Nineteenth-Century France: Priests, Mayors, Schoolmasters

Village Notables in Nineteenth-Century France: Priests, Mayors, Schoolmasters

Village Notables in Nineteenth-Century France: Priests, Mayors, Schoolmasters

Village Notables in Nineteenth-Century France: Priests, Mayors, Schoolmasters

Excerpt

According to George Orwell, it is always an excruciating thing to write a book, and I can only agree. The scholar who manages to complete ạ manuscript finds himself in great debt to a number of people and realizes that without them he would have been lost.

John Cairns of the University of Toronto first "turned me on" to village schoolmasters as a subject for a lengthy M.A. paper. I then fleshed out the subject for a doctoral dissertation under David Pinkney of the University of Washington, whose excellent editorial skills and counsel help give Chapter Six of this book what felicity of style and content it may have.

When I completed my final oral examination and was awarded the Ph.D. in 1971, one of the examiners said, in essence: "Why not go on to the other figures of significance in French villages (i.e., mayors and priests)?" Why not indeed?

It proved quite difficult to do. The French scholars who considered my application for a Canada Council research grant said the subject had to be done but that it would be elusive. That grant in 1977, as well as Canada Council doctoral fellowships in 1969-1970 and 1970-1971, helped give me the archival basis I needed for this work. I was also sent to France as a professor in the Northwest Interinstitutional Program for the spring of 1974, which permitted me to dip into the archives of Vaucluse at Avignon. A summer research trip of 1976 took me to other departments. Without the help of the marvelous officials in over a dozen archives, including the Archives Nationales, this study could not have been completed.

Partly due to the influence of David Pinkney, who reproaches North Americans for trying to match the French at their game, I have not succumbed here to what I sometimes call the historian's mania for comprehensiveness. The more one sees, the more distinctions one makes -- that goes without saying; but it was not my intention to make this book a morass . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.