Transmission problems: memory, community and the republican idea in contemporary France

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In recent years, Éditions du Seuil have published a series of small volumes aimed at a wide audience and bearing such titles as La République expliquée à ma fille or L'Amour de la France expliqué à mon fils. Well-known novelists, historians and philosophers have been enrolled in a attempt to fill in the generational gap, to repair the tear in the national fabric, in the hope that they will succeed in communicating what should already have been conveyed by political and cultural institutions. The need for leading public intellectuals to 'explain' to younger generations core national values and institutions such as 'the Republic' or 'the love of France' points to the inability of the French public schools to perform their traditional function of cultural transmission. Essays by Max Gallo and Régis Debray illustrate the paradoxical use of cultural memory by prominent representatives of the 'national-republican' camp in today's France.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of European Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Contemporary France
  • Intellectuals
  • Memory
  • Republic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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