History on the Margins


History on the Margins

People and Places in the Emergence of Modern France

John Merriman

240 pages


December 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

December 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

December 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In his distinguished career as a historian of modern France, John Merriman has published ten books and scores of scholarly articles. This volume collects some of his most notable and significant explorations of French history and culture.

In a wide-ranging introduction Merriman reflects on his decades of research and on his life, lived increasingly in France. At the beginning of his career he was determined to be not a narrow specialist but a historian who engaged with all the regions of France. So he set himself the goal of doing archival research in every single département of the country. A permanent resident of the small village of Balazuc in the Ardèche for more than twenty-five years, he laments what he sees as the over-professionalization of history at the expense of passion for one’s field. Yet Merriman is no cranky, tweed-bound scholar. Beloved by generations of historians of France, many of whom he has mentored (both as a graduate advisor and more informally), Merriman offers reflections on his life in history that will be of interest to a broad audience of historians.

Author Bio

John Merriman (1946–2022) was the Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University. He wrote and edited many works on French and European history, including, most recently, Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits: The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Époque ParisMassacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune; and The Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in Fin-de-Siècle Paris Ignited the Age of Modern Terror. Merriman won the 2017 American Historical Association’s Award for Scholarly Distinction for lifetime achievement.


"The work as a whole makes clear the passions that have driven Merriman's work."—Jill Harsin, H-France

"The work of Merriman over the past half century, like that of his social history colleagues, has enriched our study of the past enormously and, as these essays suggest, we have good cause to celebrate his achievement."—Malcolm Crook, French History

“This beautiful collection charts John Merriman’s trajectory from graduate student to one of our finest historians. Merriman’s brilliant autobiographical reflection is both evocative and hilarious; it is imbued with his conviction that the best social history is infused with first-hand, subtle familiarity with place and culture.”—Peter McPhee, emeritus professor and former provost of the University of Melbourne


“Leave it to John Merriman to treat us to his personal and remarkable tour de France, which has taken him from Paris to Limoges to Perpignan to Balazuc and back. To join Merriman on his tour is to smell, touch, and taste the earthy terroir that has created Francophiles for generations.”—James B. Collins, professor of history at Georgetown University and author of The State in Early Modern France

Table of Contents

1. The Demoiselles of the Ariège, 1829–1831
2. The Norman Fires of 1830: Incendiaries and Fear in Rural France
3. Incident at the Statue of the Virgin Mary: The Conflict of Old and New in Nineteenth-Century Limoges
4. The Language of Social Stigmatization and Urban Space in Nineteenth-Century France
5. On the Loose: The Impact of Rumors and Mouchards in the Ardèche during the Second Republic
6. Some Observations on the Transition to the Euro in France
7. I Went Up to Amiens Today: A Tribute to Charles Tilly
Source Acknowledgments