Vocation, Science and Authority in Post-Revolutionary France
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This book, first published in 1984, examines the lifetime of Georges Cuvier, and in his constant and varying struggles to retain his position both as a politician and as a leading naturalist we find displayed almost all of the political tensions of Restoration France. Our understanding of the new French intellectual elite is enhanced if we can explain what sort of power this group wielded, and how it related to the structure of politics as a whole. Cuvier’s career epitomises this relationship to the highest degree. Examination of the building of his career under the Directory and Empire offers many new insights into the way the expanding market for science, the restructuring of society as a whole, and the moral authority of science itself could be utilised as resources in the making of a reputation. The influence of scientific competition and controversy on Cuvier’s scientific work is examined at length, and it is argued that they exerted a decisive effect on the structure of his biological and geological thinking.
Table of Contents
1. The Cosmopolitan Province 2. Youth, Revolution and Vocation 3. The Conquest of the City 4. Problems and Opportunities of the Empire: Science and the Imperial University 5. The Restoration and the Crisis of Patronage 6. Controversy, Authority and the Market: Lamarck, Gall and Naturphilosophie 7. Geology, History and the Shaping of a Self-Image 8. Families, Friends and Institutions: the Paris Museum of Natural History 9. Patronage and the Post-Revolutionary Elite: Enquiry and Conclusion