Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

The Idea of Europe

 | 
Catriona Seth
, 
Rotraud von Kulessa

18. Unity in Diversity?

Texte intégral

1In his treatise Paris, the Model of Foreign Nations, or French Europe (1777i), Louis-Antoine Caraccioli (1719–1803), polymath and author of philosophical, historical and religious works, presents a sweeping panorama of Europe in the latter half of the eighteenth century, a Europe dominated by the influence of French culture.

On different Nations

2God forbid that I should use this treatise to belittle the Europeans so as to exalt the French.

3Be you Italian, English, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Portuguese etc. you are all my brothers, all my friends, all equally courageous and virtuous. Fortunate is he who, as a citizen of the world, knows neither antipathy nor prejudice.

4If I separate you into different groups, it is only because you have different ways of living, for as nature has forged no two beings entirely the same, neither has she formed any two peoples with the same mixture of steadiness and volatility. The world truly is a bouquet of flowers, wherein the Frenchman is as colourful as a carnation, the Italian dazzles like a rose, the Englishman glowers sombre as the thoughtful pansy, etc. They do all form the most striking contrast.

5Neither are territory or climate the only things which differentiate nations, the only thing which chills the Dutch or sets the Italian ablaze. Their form of government profoundly influences both spirit and customs. We do not see the same behaviour or ideas in a despotic country as in a republican State. The Englishman sees things close up, whereas the Muslim sees them as if from afar. It’s the same as with a telescope, where one end makes things look smaller while the other makes them look bigger.

6Be this as it may, there has always been a dominant nation which all others try to imitate. In times gone by everything was Roman, and now everything is French. These changes happen with the centuries. There is nothing beneath the stars, themselves continually revolving, which is not also variable, and on Earth this is particularly so, the human mind being naturally restless, proud of continuous change, and taking pleasure in trying out new things.

7Louis-Antoine Caraccioli,
Paris, the Model of Foreign Nations, or French Europe (1777).

Read the free text in the original language (1777 edition):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/​ark:/12148/​bpt6k1156961
Listen to the free audio book in the original language :
http://gallica.bnf.fr/​ark:/12148/​bpt6k1156961/​f3.vocal

Table des illustrations

URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/4306/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 79k