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« The prince and the arts in France and Italy between the 14th and 18th centuries century ": This is the new question of history entered this year as part of the national competition for Capes (Certificate of aptitude for teaching in secondary education, ndlr). For the first time in the history of this famous competition, two periods are treated in the same subject of study: medieval history and modern history. François Brizay, modernist historian recognized in particular for his Italy in modern times, and Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet, specialist in the history of the city at the end of the Middle Ages, give us a very interesting basic work on this new question, designed as a study manual largely focused on pedagogy and didactics.
A basic manual
In fact, at first, The prince and the arts in France and Italy (14th - 18th century) is meant to be a basic manual for all students preparing for the Capes competition - and much more. From the foreword, François Brizay and Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet recall the importance of this work: "its primary goal is to provide students with basic knowledge and to shed light on the main historiographical issues of the question as well as the issues it raises". All is said.
This does not mean, however, for the authors to treat their subject through lengthy discussions, which could prove to be somewhat tedious and overwhelming. The emphasis is on intelligibility, and on direct access to historical information: the subject is approached thematically, and each field of study is assigned a non-exhaustive bibliography which allows the student to deepen his study, little by little.
Therefore, the sub-parts are never very long, and it is easy to go back to what we have just read. No more tediousness. Bibliographical references are so frequent that reading this book is very affordable, even for students who have more difficulty than others to understand and analyze. More than a reading key, or a manual guiding the student in his research, this book is intended to be above all educational and educational.
A didactic and educational book
There is really, in this work, the will to inculcate and to explain the subject as well as possible, so that the student feels that he is progressing. The composition of the work is also explicit on this, and largely contributes to strengthening the didactic and educational dimension of the work.
At first, or rather in a first part, it is about " understand ". Conceived as a real introduction to the subject, this chapter explores the question of the Capes competition through different themes. For example, we find a point on the " historical geography of the subject ", Another on" the Prince of the absolutist state », Or one on patronage. Everything is done here so that the student best understands the general - but also specific - issues of the subject.
The goal being, secondly, to open the study to the field of research. After giving the student the means to "understand", the work encourages him to "research" ... and this is what is required of him more than anything else at his level of study. In short, here, the themes are generalized, and the historiographical points are much more present, an element which proves to be essential to be able to carry out a thorough and coherent historical reflection. François Brizay and Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet also refer to numerous works, some very recent, dating from this year.
The educational dimension is also reinforced at the very end of the work, where there is a last part, simply entitled " practice ". You get it, this is about providing students with sample essays - with documents - requested during the Capes exam. Obviously, this is not a mandatory procedure or standard answers, and the authors notably deny this. This part is intended to be a methodological point, and has the merit of opening the student up to different possible examination subjects, which may fall into the competition. It's about " to offer candidates some food for thought to support their personal work ».
Analysis of the core of the structure
Let us now try to dissect this work somewhat, to delve into it. Very quickly, you realize that this is primarily an educational work, as has just been explained. The authors have included numerous maps (of France and Italy), chronologies and genealogies (from Anjou to the Sforza to the Medici). The intelligibility of the work is therefore greatly enhanced, and in this lies all its interest. These "annexes" which mark out The prince and the arts in France and Italy (14th - 18th century) are all additional keys that allow the student to better understand and understand his subject, which is otherwise anything but easy.
Let us be prosaic: the developments are very well written, and their understanding is easy. It may sound simplistic, but it is, in my opinion, an essential point: progress is rapid, and the student will certainly not waste time grasping the shortcomings that such a historical subject could offer. Likewise, the bibliographical references are numerous and diverse, which will allow everyone to carry out their study as best they can and as they wish, such as, for example, making targeted sheets on different themes developed by the book.
In fact, in The prince and the arts in France and Italy (14th - 18th century), everything is justified: by the developments, by the presentation and the comparison of various historical sources, but especially by the bibliographical tracks proposed. The reader - who, let us not forget, is preparing for a tough and tedious competition - will never feel lost: everything is done to ensure that he understands, so that he can find his bearings, but also so that he succeeds in go beyond the strict field of the subject by leading an appropriate historical reflection.
Keeping up such a vast subject, moreover the official question of the 2010-2011 Capes competition, was not easy. François Brizay and Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet largely fulfill their contract: The prince and the arts in France and Italy (14th - 18th century) becomes in fact an essential work. Histoire Pour Tous can only recommend this book, which is an excellent working basis for the Capes. The book is very well built, and we really feel a progression in its composition: more than grasping the subject at first, it is a question of developing it then with a view to mastering it through training. and methodology.
However, as the authors point out, The prince and the arts in France and Italy (14th - 18th century) is not a sum that covers the subject completely: it is necessary for the student to take responsibility, which consists of an intelligent study of the subject. It is therefore a book that any student preparing for the Capes should open, because it is simple, well constructed and very useful, especially methodologically.
F. BRIZAY, S. CASSAGNES-BROUQUET, The prince and the arts in France and Italy (14th - 18th century), Bréal, Coll. Amphi Histoire (directed by M. Kaplan and B. Garnot), Paris, September 2010.