The Language Question under Napoleon

  • Stewart McCain

Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850 book series (WCS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Stewart McCain
    Pages 1-25
  3. Stewart McCain
    Pages 117-149
  4. Stewart McCain
    Pages 151-178
  5. Stewart McCain
    Pages 271-278
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 279-307

About this book


This book offers a new perspective on the cultural politics of the Napoleonic Empire by exploring the issue of language within four pivotal institutions - the school, the army, the courtroom and the church. Based on wide-ranging research in archival and published sources, Stewart McCain demonstrates that the Napoleonic State was in reality fractured by disagreements over how best to govern a population characterized by enormous linguistic diversity. Napoleonic officials were not simply cultural imperialists; many acted as culture-brokers, emphasizing their familiarity with the local language to secure employment with the state, and pointing to linguistic and cultural particularism to justify departures from which what others might have considered desirable practice by the regime. This book will be of interest to scholars of the Napoleonic Empire, and of European state-building and nationalisms.


French Revolution Napoleonic Empire institutions cultural imperialism linguistic diversity

Authors and affiliations

  • Stewart McCain
    • 1
  1. 1.Twickenham, LondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-54935-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-54936-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site