[2] MODERN ERA – Reims, Amiens, and the Aftermath of the French Revolution – General Observations

Bibliography on the Gothic Cathedral and the Aftermath of the French Revolution

Amic, Sylvain and Ségolène Le Men, Cathédrales, 1789-1914, un mythe moderne (Paris: Somogy, 2014).

Bouilleret, Jean-Luc, Aurélien André, and Xavier Boniface, eds, Amiens (Strasbourg: La Nuée bleue, 2012).

Brush, Kathryn, et.al., Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995).

Byrnes, Joseph F., Catholic and French Forever: Religious and National Identity in Modern France (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005).

Camille, Michael, The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Choay, Françoise, The Invention of the Historic Monument (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Crossley, Ceri, French Historians and Romanticism: Thierry, Guizot, the Saint-Simonians, Quinet, Michelet (London; New York: Routledge, 1993).

Desvallées, André, “A L'origine Du Mot "Patrimoine,” in Patrimoine Et Modernité, edited by Dominique Poulot, 89-105 (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1998).

Erland-Brandenburg, Alain. Notre-Dame de Paris (Paris: La Martinière, 1997), final chapter (English language edition, 1998), pp. 211-235.

Gerson, Stéphane, The Pride of Place: Local Memories & Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003).

Gooch, G. P., History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century, with a New Intro. by the author, Beacon Paperback No. 76. (Boston,: Beacon Press, 1959).

Jordan, Alyce, “A Novel Restoration: Medievalism and Modernity in the Nineteenth-Century Restoration of the Windows of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris,”  in Medieval Art and Architecture after the Middle Ages, Marquardt, Janet and Alyce Jordan, eds. (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), 195-217.

Le Goff, Jacques, “Reims, City of Coronation,” in Les Lieux de Mémoire, ed. Pierre Nora (Paris: Gallimard, 1992) (English edition: Columbia University Press, 1998), 239-246.

Lobrichon, Guy. “Vézelay.” Les Lieux de Mémoire, ed. Pierre Nora (Paris: Gallimard, 1992) (English edition: Columbia University Press, 1998) Les France 3. Paris: Gallimard, 1992, III: 317-57.

Marquardt, Janet T., From Martyr to Monument: The Abbey of Cluny as Cultural Patrimony (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholar's Publishing, 2007).

Mellon, Stanley, The Political Uses of History: A Study of Historians in the French Restoration (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1958).

McPhee, Peter, A Social History of France, 1789-1914, 2nd ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

Mondenard, Anne, La Mission héliographique: Cinq photographes parcourent la France en 1851 (Centre des monuments nationaux: Éditions du patrimoine, 2002).

Montalembert, Du Vandalisme et du catholicisme dans I'art (Paris: Debecourt, 1839).

Murphy, Kevin D., Memory and Modernity: Viollet-Le-Duc at Vézelay (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000).

Orr, Linda, Headless History: Nineteenth-Century French Historiography of the Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990).

Oursel, Raymond and Jean-Noël Barnoud, Paray-le-Monial: les 900 ans d’une basilique (Besançon: La Manufacture, 1992), part II. 

Poulot, Dominique and Richard Wrigley, “The Birth of Heritage: ‘Le Moment Guizot’,” Oxford Art Journal 11, no. 2 (1988): 40-56.

Réau, Louis, Michel Fleury, and Guy-Michel Leproux, Histoire du vandalisme: Les monuments détruits de l'art français (Paris: R. Laffont, 1994).

Recht, Roland, Believing and Seeing: The Art of Gothic Cathedrals (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), chapters 1 and 2.

Soboul, Albert, et. al. “Vandalisme,” in Dictionnaire Historique de la Révolution Française (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1989).

Sprigath, Gabriele, “Sur Le Vandalisme Revolutionnaire 1792-4,” Annales historiques de la Révolution française 52, no. 510-35 (1980).

Spitzer, Alan B., The French Generation of 1820 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987).

Swenson, Astrid, The Rise of Heritage: Preserving the Past in France, Germany and England, 1789-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Jordan, Thierry, Patrick Demouy, and Hervé Chabaud, eds., Reims, la grâce d'une cathédrale: Reims (Strasbourg: Nuée bleue, 2010).

Vauchez, André, “The Cathedral,” in Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past, edited by Pierra Nora and Lawrence D. Kritzman, 37-68 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996).


Abou-El-Haj sought to impress upon her readers that medieval churches have not always enjoyed their current prestige. As she understood it, following the Revolution of 1789, Napoléon restored the Catholic Church as a consensus-building institution with the Concordat of 1801. Meanwhile, during the Napoleonic wars, French churches were attacked, left to ruin, or disassembled for their stone. During the “July Monarchy” of Louis-Philippe (r. 1830-1848), a nation-state project was undertaken by the government-funded Commission des Monuments Historiques, established by François Guizot (1787-1874), and then developed into a science by its architect-theorist, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879), his colleagues, and the government inspectors who determined which historical monuments would be “classed” for conservation and restoration. Both the cathedrals of Reims and Amiens were placed on the list in 1862. Fourteen photographs of Reims were taken by Henri Le Secq as part of the Commission’s Mission Héliographique in 1851. But inexplicably, Amiens was not included in any of the five itineraries. 

In the midst of civil and political strife (1830, 1848, 1871) and defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Catholicism waxed and waned but the symbol of the Gothic cathedral broke free of purely religious import to stand as an historical paradigm of accomplishment for the modern France. Liberal romantics of the July Monarchy traced the French nation to twelfth-century communes, and medieval churches were produced as the origin and patrimony of the nation state. This was no time to recall histories of conflict occurring during the erection of the building, addressed in the other sections of The Lordship and Commune Project. 

Barbara Abou-El-Haj left this section of her study in an inchoate state. This bibliography might inspire inquiries along the lines sketched in the discussion above. 


1. How does an awareness of the varied and shifting political motivations for the promotion of Gothic style as an expression of French genius shape your understanding of contemporary discussions of Reims, Amiens, and other cathedrals – as they appear in introductory texts or as they are presented to tourists?


2. How might scholars of Gothic architecture, sculpture, and glass integrate discussions of the modern fortunes of medieval cathedrals into their own studies? Is this information an historical footnote or an essential part of the story of a building?