Recent French Reconstruction Literature

Huntly Cabter
1918 Sociological Review  
IDEAS must move swiftly in the sun, or if they loiter in the shadow they must either beoome interesting historical relics, or fossilized. The French Regionaligt idea, no less than the others. This is the conclusion suggested by a book which had the privilege of issuing from a Paria publishing ho 'se during the bombardment. It is a little book whose pocket size, paper covers, and clear type present an ideal format for historical surveys. Its aim is to record the progress of French BegionaliBm
more » ... ench BegionaliBm during the last fifty years or so, and it is accordingly entitled " L'Evolution R^gionaliste." (Du Felibrige au Federalisme. Essai sur la Reorganisation Regionaliste de ia France, suivie d'une 6tude sur le lUgionalisme applique a I'Enseignement.) The preface is by M. Charles Goffic. The book is signed F. Jean-Desthieux, and is published by " Editions Bossard," 43 rue Madame, Paris, at 4 francs Nearly two hundred and ftfty pages of valuable facts on the development of a transforming movement are dedicated to M. Charles Brun, " I'animateur des Provinces fran^aises," aa M. Maurice Barres puts it. The whole serves as an -engaging frame for a picture, with full explanatory text, of regionalism in the , making, in which the war, as disintegrating force, is seen to be taking an active part. As such, the book may be said to form an essential appendix to M. Charles Bmn's claasical definition of Regionalism embodied in " Le Regionalisme" (Bloud, Paris), which is thus brought up to date. The first thing that strikes one on opening the book, is the new definition of regionalism showing that the movement is being bome nearer to realisation by a deputation of aU sorts and conditions of French thinkers, as the supreme reward of its unifying virtues. This definition assures us that regionalism in no other than federalism. And of course one definition leads to another, by which means we are brought to beginnings. To simplify the examination of the book, one might begin witb tbe beginnings and end with the enda. Then the subject falls into two definite divisions of the regionalist idea and policy. M. Desthieux gives the idea of regionalism to FrM^ric Mistral, the Provencal poet. But, as there is no need for me to point out, Mistral was not the first regionalist. It is possible indeed that the idea of regionalism dates from the Flood or from Adam, if not earlier. At all events, it was in the air long before Mistral •s bont, and no doubt what SI. Desthieux means to nay is that Mistral formulated it. The poet also took sufficient care to bequeath to posterity a just idea of tbe grandeur of his formula. The most glorious proposals for the restoration of natnnl righta, as he conceived them to be contained in full and free individual and collective e.xpression, and culminating in an Empire of the Sun, as the federated regions of the Midi were to b« called, were handed by him to others to be preserved in nnending development. He considered it good for the propagation of his regional propoial* to form a society which (hoald help to nurture the main idea with the poetic tut«, the deep fervour, and the noble sini{dicity whicb give their value to the social reform he initiated. To that end, a« M. Desthieaz relates, he invited ibe formation of tbe F^librige. So in 1834 seven poets met together in tbe castelet of Foat-S^une, for Uie primary purpose of deciding on means to resvrrect their n«tiv« language and that ot the Latin race. Here it is ^[»ptopri«te to r«cidi M. Chwtw Bran'* definition ol a filibre, as each of the s«ven was called, as " a Frendamui of t^ iMgne d'oc (or «odt^), wbo seeks to maintain, and develop tbe proper of his Mgios, aa being, in hia belief, indistohibiy united to tiiBi of hi* dialect M, Btun oiwerves further, "of the trilogy : history, inuuiers, language, irhich support
doi:10.1111/j.1467-954x.1918.tb02183.x fatcat:alms3eh4bzc3fmrou3pk5bdszq