Modernity & Monarchy

Larry F. Norman

in The Shock of the Ancient

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226591483
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226591506 | DOI:
Modernity & Monarchy

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The rebellious idealization of ancient liberties was perhaps most famously captured by a page in the Confessions in which Rousseau credited his “indomptable” “esprit libre et républicain” to his early and enthusiastic reading of the classics: “ever contemplating Rome and Athens; living, so to speak, with their great men, […] I believed myself Greek or Roman; I believed myself the character whose life I read.” Whether or not the French revolution was indeed inspired, as Chateaubriand claimed (followed by Constant and Marx), by thinkers “living more in Rome and Athens than in their own country, [who] sought to revive in Europe the ways of antiquity,” the power of the ancient countermodel to modern monarchy was certainly a hallmark of the generations that succeeded the quarrel.

Keywords: monarchy; ancient liberties; Rousseau; modernity; antiquity; quarrel

Chapter.  4187 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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