course title

Modern France: When, Where, Who, What? (slides)

What is this thing you call "modern"? (slides)

Additional Textbooks
Alfred Cobban, History of Modern France (three volumes)—these were written in the 1960s and the publisher (Penguin) has recently issued replacement volumes. Cobban's books are still worth reading, however, and you should find that used copies are readily and cheaply available.

Colin Jones, The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon (2002)—this is the eighteenth-century volume in the new Penguin series.

Rod Kedward, France and the French: A Modern History (2006)—this replaced Cobban's volume on twentieth-century France.

Gordon Wright, France in Modern Times (six editions)—like Cobban, this is now slightly outdated, but there are many copies in existence.

Reading for Discussion
Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution (1856); Please read the Preface (in some editions called “Foreword”); Part or Book One, Chapter Three (“the Revolution, though political…”) and Chapter Five (“what did the Revolution achieve”); and Book Two, Chapter Thirteen (in some editions, this is called Part Three, Chapter One, its topic is “how men of letters became the leading politicians”). This book is available in the library or you could purchase it; you can also read the 1856 edition on-line via

Further Reading
Marshall Berman, All that is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (1983).

Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (1983).

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848), available on-line.

Peter Sahlins, "Natural Frontiers Revisited: France's Boundaries since the Seventeenth Century," American Historical Review 95 (1990), pp. 1423-1451 [available on-line via JSTOR].

See also: "Paris, Capital of the Ninteenth Century" and "Thirty Modern Years"

History B356
History B356: French Revolution & Napoleon

French maps
Historical & contemporary maps of France, French cities, and the French empire