Archive for November, 2012

Literature Review

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Here is my literature review on the White Rose as well as the bibliography for the literature review.

final literature review

lit review bibligraphy

Finlay and Davis, opposing arguements on Martin Guerre

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The short book The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon Davis is a historiography-like book about a real court case that took place in France in the sixteenth century.  The scandal revolved around a peasant family who had an unprecedented dilemma: Martin Guerre returned to his home to find his wife happily living with her husband, a man also claiming to be Martin Guerre.  From there a court case ensued that would be remembered by historians and now thanks to Davis, the mainstream public.

Reviewing Davis’s work is Robert Finlay with his article, The Refashioning of Martin Guerre.  Finlay starts his article rather unobtrusively just commenting on the life and society of the peasants presence in modern history and mainstream media.  Then he comments on how Davis popularized the story of Martin Guerre with her book.  When Finlay starts to bring up Jean de Coras, however, the real criticism starts to show.  Coras too, published about the story of Martin Guerre but he was actually alive during the whole scandal and reported the actors as very different than how Davis portrayed them.  The Guerre impostor in Coras’s account of the tale was a charlatan property snatcher who got what was coming to him.  Finlay later makes the case that Davis exaggerated sources to make a dramatized story of the Martin Guerre that could hardly be called history but something more like historical fiction– an invention of Davis’s imagination.  To the heart of Finlays article is the assertion that the wife of Martin Guerre was not in on some plot, but duped by a scoundrel.

Natalie Zemon Davis

Davis reponded to Finaly’s article with one of her own titled, On the Lame.  For one thing, Davis defends the style of her book, writing that she wanted it to read like a detective novel.  Basically, that she wanted it to be readable by the average person.  Davis also subtly challenges any who have picked up a torch against her research to look into it– all the research is noted there, in the next.  Coras was also only one of four who reported on the judicial case of Martin Guerre in 1555.  Davis concludes that Finlay assumes in his own narrow mindedness that Martin Guerre’s wife would not be able to tell the difference between the impostor and her real husband.  She writes this cannot be so and then sites psychology sources to back up her argument.

As for me, the reader and the student, I found Davis’s account of Martin Guerre hardly convincing.  I agree with Finlay that she let her imagination run away with her and even with a credible list of sources there is no call for stretching the truth and then calling it history.  Coincidentally, that is actually exactly what I am trying to prove in my term paper for this class.  I disagree with Finlay when it comes to the Martin Guerre impostor, however.  People did age a lot more rapidly in the sixteenth century from harder lives and labor, but there is nothing that could so alter a man that his wife couldn’t be able to tell the difference.  To assume to seems rather patronizing towards the female sex, although I hope that is not how Finlay meant his assertion to come across.  The true conclussion of this debate, I fine, is that the real story cannot be disserened being so long ago.  The true story Martin Guerre will stay a half-mystery of history.

 

Finlay and Davis, opposing arguements on Martin Guerre

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The short book The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon Davis is a historiography-like book about a real court case that took place in France in the sixteenth century.  The scandal revolved around a peasant family who had an unprecedented dilemma: Martin Guerre returned to his home to find his wife happily living with her husband, a man also claiming to be Martin Guerre.  From there a court case ensued that would be remembered by historians and now thanks to Davis, the mainstream public.

Reviewing Davis’s work is Robert Finlay with his article, The Refashioning of Martin Guerre.  Finlay starts his article rather unobtrusively just commenting on the life and society of the peasants presence in modern history and mainstream media.  Then he comments on how Davis popularized the story of Martin Guerre with her book.  When Finlay starts to bring up Jean de Coras, however, the real criticism starts to show.  Coras too, published about the story of Martin Guerre but he was actually alive during the whole scandal and reported the actors as very different than how Davis portrayed them.  The Guerre impostor in Coras’s account of the tale was a charlatan property snatcher who got what was coming to him.  Finlay later makes the case that Davis exaggerated sources to make a dramatized story of the Martin Guerre that could hardly be called history but something more like historical fiction– an invention of Davis’s imagination.  To the heart of Finlays article is the assertion that the wife of Martin Guerre was not in on some plot, but duped by a scoundrel.

Natalie Zemon Davis

Davis reponded to Finaly’s article with one of her own titled, On the Lame.  For one thing, Davis defends the style of her book, writing that she wanted it to read like a detective novel.  Basically, that she wanted it to be readable by the average person.  Davis also subtly challenges any who have picked up a torch against her research to look into it– all the research is noted there, in the next.  Coras was also only one of four who reported on the judicial case of Martin Guerre in 1555.  Davis concludes that Finlay assumes in his own narrow mindedness that Martin Guerre’s wife would not be able to tell the difference between the impostor and her real husband.  She writes this cannot be so and then sites psychology sources to back up her argument.

As for me, the reader and the student, I found Davis’s account of Martin Guerre hardly convincing.  I agree with Finlay that she let her imagination run away with her and even with a credible list of sources there is no call for stretching the truth and then calling it history.  Coincidentally, that is actually exactly what I am trying to prove in my term paper for this class.  I disagree with Finlay when it comes to the Martin Guerre impostor, however.  People did age a lot more rapidly in the sixteenth century from harder lives and labor, but there is nothing that could so alter a man that his wife couldn’t be able to tell the difference.  To assume to seems rather patronizing towards the female sex, although I hope that is not how Finlay meant his assertion to come across.  The true conclussion of this debate, I fine, is that the real story cannot be disserened being so long ago.  The true story Martin Guerre will stay a half-mystery of history.

 

Braudel

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I had a tough time reading Braudel, and really didn’t understand what he was writing about. I got that the social sciences are important and connected, but unique at the same time. I really didn’t even get that much until after we discussed it in class, to be honest.

Sobul and Furet

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Both Sobul and Furet write about the French Revolution in two very different ways. Subul claims that the French Revolution was a turning point in Europe. Furet argues the opposite of Sobul, stating that it was just like any other event or uprising. Truth be told, I am indifferent on the whole event, French history has never appealed to me. I found myself agreeing with Furet however, war never changes.

David Cohen- law, Society, and Sexuality in Ancient Athens

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I think Cohen’s thesis was that homosexuality was not as accepted as some would like to believe. He provides a lot of information on the subject, including laws and stories. Through our discussion in class, it seems that it was acceptable for a man playing the role of the male to have sexual relations with another man. It was looked down to be the role of the female. Regardless, Cohen’s evidence shows that it was a taboo subject, not as simple as some make it out to be.

E.P. Thompson

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

E.P. Thompson was a Marxist, and believed that History was not influenced by certain people in particular instead  it has been influenced by trends and technological advances. Which is evident from the tittle of his article “Time, Work-discipline, and industrial capitalism,”Thompson illustrates how a new apprehension of time underwent important changes between 1300 and 1650. History to Thompson is like a clock, the way it moves through time.    Thompson talks about how the apprehension of time might have affected the working class differently, because they were trying to become a mature industrial society and did this change the inward notation of time. Before the invention of electricity the time was kept by the Sun, so with the invention of electricity they had to learn to keep time themselves. The different ways of keeping time have changed throughout History much like how the changes in Historical writings have occurred. The simplicity of Historical writings in the past have been improved with  new innovative ways much like the telling of time.  I thought this article had an interesting look because one would never like that the telling of time would of had much to do with history and the Historical writing but like the inventions that improved the telling of time there were ones that improved the writing of History.

Sobul and Furet

Friday, November 16th, 2012

The French Revolution is a water-shed moment of human history. Its bloodshed led to a monarchy’s fall, an emperor’s rise, and a shaky political center that has ramifications to this day. Two historians, Sobul and Furet, both have very different views on the Revolution.

 

It is Sobul’s argument that the French Revolution was one of the best possible outcomes for the French people. Held under oppressive leaders, the French were overtaxed due to overspending during the American Revolution, and many of the country’s populace was starving. With an out-of-touch monarchy, Sobul argues the French people had little recourse left. The Revolution, though bloody, brought out the possibilities of French rule; as well as the exile of the top classes of French society that had been complicit for so long.

 

On the other hand, Furet claims the French Revolution was good for little. While the Revolution began well, it soon turned sour. With the rise of Robespierre and the Jacobins, the French Revolution restored a high, ruling-class, only with a different name. Robespierre’s Reign of Terror plunged the French into perpetual war, one that pitted revolutionaries vs loyalists. The Reign of Terror also allowed for the rise of Napoleon, who caused world-wide wars that claimed millions of lives. Furet’s argument almost completely goes against Sobul.

Grafton: The Footnote from De Thou to Ranke

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

In his article Grafton shows the evolution of the footnote through time. Grafton is essentially using an element of writing that is used by scholars in order to show a Historical trend. It was interesting that he used a writing technique to show how it evolved through time and how different historians helped the footnote to evolve.  Before footnotes there were margin notes, which were not has effective. De thou was a French Protestant who begin the evolution of the footnote when he began using them in 1572. Gibbon popularized footnotes in 1776, however it was Von Ranke in 1824 who brought everything to together and created the footnote that is used today.  Grafton demonstrates that one could trace anything through time and see how it has evolved. This article is an example of a literature review, which traces a story through time.  It was interesting the way Grafton presented the evolution of the footnote and he adds humor which helps keep the reader entertained. Grafton while writing on Footnotes, he shows the different ways you can use footnotes.  Grafton’s article was an interesting take on a historical topic that is useful for historians but also demonstrates the proper way things should be written historically.