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The Peasants of Languedoc Paperback – January 1, 1977

ISBN-13: 978-0252006357 ISBN-10: 0252006356

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (January 1, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252006356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252006357
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #953,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Slater on March 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, the author of "The Peasants of Languedoc," is a French historian whose works have had considerable exposure in English. The fascinating "Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error" (and alternate titles; 1975, translation 1978) may be the best-known of his works, as well as the most controversial among historians, based as it is on village gossip recorded by Inquisitors. Perhaps more representative are detailed studies of a popular demonstration / riot in "Carnival in Romans" ("Le Carnaval de Romans," 1979), and of folktale themes as transmitted in popular and literary versions from the south of France, in "Love, Death and Money in the Pays D'Oc" ("L'argent, l'amour et la mort en pays d'Oc," 1980), in which social stresses and personal anxieties come together.

Underlying much of this production, however, and perhaps giving Ladurie the confidence to interpret the notoriously difficult inquisitorial records, is this less-inspiring sounding early work, "Les Paysans de Languedoc" of 1966, here translated under an equally plain and literal title, which appeared in English only three years after the original French edition. In any case, it clearly underlies his later investigations of provincial culture and society.

This is a sophisticated analysis of primarily economic records from one of the traditional provinces of southern France, covering mainly the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. It deals with the basics of ordinary life -- production, consumption, property, and taxes, and how they interacted. There are interesting confirmations of what can go wrong when people act without much guidance from economic theory in determining self-interest.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Angelo Johnson on October 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's The Peasants of Languedoc the message and the [historical] method are inseparable. The sources used to explore rural life in the French province of Languedoc (today Languedoc-Roussillon), at times, take a more prominent role in the narrative than the peasant workers and tenant farmers. Its central theme examines the "Malthusian dilemma of a traditional agrarian society incapable, over the long run, of preserving a balance between population and food production." (x) Le Roy Ladurie employs a mélange of economic, demographic, social, meteorological, political, religious, psychological analysis to present in a histoire totale that the fluctuations within the agrarian cycle cannot be explained by only focusing on economic determinants. Societal and weather-related factors influenced economic choices, and the economy shaped demographic and religious arrangements.

Though Le Roy Ladurie primarily focuses his study on the agrarian cycle of Languedoc's economy stretching from 1500 to 1750, he, nevertheless, presents a load of comparative evidence from the fifteenth and prior centuries, and he is not shy about interpreting early modern decisions through twentieth century psychological principles. He divides the cycle into four phases: liftoff, rise, maturity, and decline. During the late medieval period, Languedoc's population suffered from famine and dearth, poor harvests, undernourishment, all of which made the onset of the Black Death of 1348 even more devastating. The late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries experienced expansion. Harvests rebounded, proper nutrition increased population, precious metal boosted monetary circulation, and urban areas grew. Sixteenth-century agricultural production, however, did not keep pace with population growth.
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By Patti of Gaithersburg, MD on November 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Spangler on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
For students of French or European history this book by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie is a must read! This author is truly the most brilliant French historian. I recommend anything by Ladurie without reservation.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ide B. O. Carroll on October 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I got this book at a great price, I dislike the fact that it has large sections highlighted in blue. These may have been important passages for the previous reader, but I find them a distraction. I'd like to know in future if the book has sections highlighted to this extent and in bright colours. I don't mind notes in the margins...
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