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Palgrave Macmillan

Saint-Simonians in Nineteenth-Century France

From Free Love to Algeria

ISBN 9780230574731
Publication Date January 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The Saint-Simonians were a group of young engineers and doctors who proposed original solutions to the social and banking crises of the early nineteenth century. They were unique in the 1820s in attracting women, including workers, into their movement, and attempting to change the world through love, including the sexual 'liberation' of women. Some metamorphosed from idealistic reformers to create the first socialist groups in France, while others spearheaded bank reform, railway building and urban transformation in the 1850s. They took the lead in the colonisation of Algeria, in popular journalism, business, and in organising international exhibitions. They planned the most notable engineering project of the time, the Suez Canal, and a project that took over a century more to be completed, the Channel tunnel. Through an examination of the lives, ideals and activities of these men and women, Pilbeam analyses the influence of the Saint-Simonians on nineteenth-century French society.

Pamela Pilbeam is Professor Emeritus of French History, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, and Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow, 2007-2009. She has published extensively on nineteenth-century European history, including Madame Tussaud and the History of Waxworks (2006, 2nd edition), and French Socialists before Marx: Workers, Women and the Social Question in France (2000).

1. A New Generation Planning for a Golden Age
2. Religion and the Liberation of the Poorest Classes
3. The Cost of Free Love
4. Reconfiguring New Worlds
5. Transnational Reformers
6. Egypt Orientalism and Modernisation
7. Algeria 1830-48: Conquest and Exploration
8. Prolétaires into Propriétaires: The Promised Land, 1848
9. Urbain and the Arab Empire
10. Conclusion: Remembering the Saint-Simonians


"One cannot fault the range of [Pilbeam's] research: not only the Arsenal (where the archives of Saint-Simon and Prosper Enfantin run into 47 volumes, plus the less often exploited Fonds d'Eichthal), but the Archives d'Outre-Mer too. The originality of the book is furthered by her use of primary printed sources by such authors as the hostile Edward Hancock, who was appalled by the Saint-Simonians' 'horrid doings' (91). What Pilbeam shows in her clear, occasionally mischievous, wideranging account is that where the Saint-Simonians succeeded, it was through compromise and shrewd lobbying of governmental and financial institutions. Much of
the history of the Saint-Simonians is a list of frustrated dreams and errors. It is often a hard fate to be a precursor." - Maura Hametz, Old Dominion University, USA
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