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What is the equivalent in France of the “Victorian era”?

What is the equivalent in France of the “Victorian era”?



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By Victorian era I mean the moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. We had the same culture in France but I can't find the proper term to phrase it.

For example how would you translate "Victorians" in the sentence below to a public which doesn't have a clue about English history (so a literal translation won't work) but who has some knowledge about French history.

The refusal to acknowledge human nature is like the Victorians' embarrassment about sex, only worse: it distorts our science and scholarship, our public discourse, and our day-to-day lives. (Steven Pinker)


There isn't, and never has been, a French equivalent of the Victorian Era in the sense of moral rigidity and the dominance of the bourgeoisie. As evidence I submit the concept of the French Postcard (warning - adult content beyond link) which nearly every Victorian gentleman traveling on the Continent would send to his male friends for their amusement.

The very concept of a Victorian Age in this sense is a Northern European, Puritanical, and very Anglo-Saxon concept essentially incompatible with Catholic Gallic culture.

The distinction revolves around a fundamental difference between the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic church which historically pervades Gallic culture, and the Calvinist theology and practice which periodically has pervaded Anglo-Saxon culture. (Cromwell's time as Lord Protector and the latter part of Victoria's reign being two notable examples.)

According to (Roman) Catholic theology, everyone sins; provided one confesses, performs the designated penance, and subsequently receives mass all is well, and one is welcome into the Kingdom of Heaven. This becomes so habitual historically that many perform it as a weekly ritual.

According to Calvinist theology, where there is no concept of Free Will, one's right to salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven is pre-ordained in terms of who you are, not what you have or not done. This further requires that in order to maintain one's status as one of the chosen one must be perpetually observant, and as everyone is their brother's keeper everyone must also be perpetually observant that everyone else is also perpetually observant of the strictest moral precepts.

Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

and

By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death. (Chapter 3 Paragraph 3)^

and

All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.

Whether a national culture or the theology comes first is a chicken-and-egg problem that I will leave to the philosophers. But the Gallic culture is and historically always has been entirely intolerant of Calvinist theology, while Anglo-Saxon culture seems to regularly cycle in and out of it.


To my ear the German term Biedermeier has a somewhat similar connotation. It denotes the period between 1815 and 1848 and includes important cultural characteristics. And the French term Restauration (period between 1815 and 1830) rings somewhat similar to Biedermeier, although this term seems to imply much less about specific culture.

So Restauration is one French term that is indirectly related (if certainly not equivalent) to the Victorian era (period between 1837 and 1901) in a way that may be meaningful for your inquiry. Here's an excerpt from its Wikipedia article:

The period was characterized by a sharp conservative reaction, and consequent minor but consistent occurrences of civil unrest and disturbances. It also saw the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic Church as a power in French politics.


What is the equivalent in France of the &ldquoVictorian era&rdquo? - History

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Watch the video: The Tragic Story Of The Victorian RMS Tayleur. How The Victorians Built Britain. Absolute History (August 2022).