Towards a Gallic Laager
He was right. When, in 1811, the Ministry of Police-Generale asked for intelligence on ‘the inner reaches of high society, and the relationships and opinions of those who compose it’ in Rome, Norvins had to confess it would not be an easy job, mainly because of the estrangement between French and Italians, derived from their different cultural pastimes.
It seems to me that we must always worry that French officials in the conquered and reunited territories fail to understand the true character of their peoples. … They leave themselves all the more exposed to such errors, in that the French have an excessive tendency to keep to themselves and, for their part, the peoples of the conquered and reunited territories, feeling ill at ease with their conquerors, seek them out as little as possible, and prefer to keep out of their way. From there, a sort of wall goes up between them, that a few Court functions, or cold visitations and stilted conversations do not suffice, in fostering frank exchanges between them.1
KeywordsPublic Sphere Italian Woman Great Family Cultural Imperialism Elite Culture
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