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Passion for History: Conversations with Denis Crouzet

by Natalie Zemon Davis and Denis Crouzet Truman State University
Pub Date:
Pbk 232 pages
AU$45.99 NZ$48.69
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The pathbreaking work of renowned historian Natalie Zemon Davis has added profoundly to our understanding of early modern society and culture. She rescues men and women from oblivion using her unique combination of rich imagination, keen intelligence, and archival sleuthing to uncover the past. Davis brings to life a dazzling cast of extraordinary people, revealing their thoughts, emotions, and choices in the world in which they lived. Thanks to Davis we can meet the impostor Arnaud du Tilh in her classic, The Return of Martin Guerre, follow three remarkable lives in Women on the Margins, and journey alongside a traveler and scholar in Trickster Travels as he moves between the Muslim and Christian worlds.

In these conversations with Denis Crouzet, professor of history at the Sorbonne and well-known specialist on the French Wars of Religion, Natalie Zemon Davis examines the practices of history and controversies in historical method. Their discussion reveals how Davis has always pursued the thrill and joy of discovery through historical research. Her quest is influenced by growing up Jewish in the Midwest as a descendant of emigrants from Eastern Europe. She recounts how her own life as a citizen, a woman, and a scholar compels her to ceaselessly examine and transcend received opinions and certitudes. Davis reminds the reader of the broad possibilities to be found by studying the lives of those who came before us, and teaches us how to give voice to what was once silent.


Foreword by Orest Ranum









Works by Natalie Zemon Davis

Works by Denis Crouzet


“A forward by Orest Ranum sets the mood by stating that what the reader will find is not simply a Q&A session, but a genuine, lively dialogue between Crouzet and Davis.... I expect two types of readers to be seized by this gripping interview. On the one hand, it shall be read with great profit by those historians already familiar with Davis's work—critics and votaries alike. On the other, it will serve as a fine introduction to the work of this most innovative historian.”

European Review of History: Revue europeenne d'histoire

Michael Wolfe is the author or editor of six books, including The Conversion of Henri IV and most recently Walled Towns and the Shaping of France.

Natalie Zemon Davis is a social and cultural historian of early modern times. Her published works have been translated into various languages including French, Italian, German, and Japanese. She was historical consultant for the film Le Retour de Martin Guerre and the opera The House of Martin Guerre. Davis has taught at major universities including the University of Toronto, the University of California at Berkeley, and Princeton University. Emerita from Princeton University, Davis is now an adjunct professor of history and anthropology and professor of medieval studies history at the University of Toronto.

Denis Crouzet is professor of modern history at the Université de Paris 4-Sorbonne. He is the author or editor of twelve books, including Les Guerriers de Dieu and Dieu en ses Royaumes.