Civilization and Capitalism: The Structures of Everyday Life (Volume I). Fernand Braudel.

Civilization and Capitalism: The Structures of Everyday Life (Volume I)

London: Collins/Fontana Press, 1981. First U.K. Paperback Edition. Softcover. Used - Very Good. Spine is faded. No creasing to spine. Clean and unmarked. Binding tight and square. B/W illustrations. Maps. Graphs. Endnotes. Index. 17 x 23 cm. 623 pp. Item #10322

From Kirkus (Jan. 1, 1981):

The Braudel craze set off in 1972 by the English translation of his great work The Mediterranean has abated a bit, but it is likely to flourish again with the appearance in English of his three-volume Civilization and Capitalism: 15th-18th Century, of which this is the first volume. This particular work, however, has already appeared once as Capitalism and Material Life 1400-1800 when there existed only this single volume in French. For the almost $30 difference between the paperback edition and this tome, the reader gets a ""revised"" text with a translation by Sian Reynolds, the translator of The Mediterranean (based on the earlier translation by Miriam Kochan), and all the pictures and documentation that were annoyingly left out of the precipitous first try. Reynolds' alteration reads more smoothly than the Kochan ""base"" and is also more accurate in small ways: for example, Kochan has Braudel say ""Marx was right,"" while Reynolds' Braudel says ""Marx asked the right question."" The basic content remains the same. Braudel's opus is divided into three parts (outlined in Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism). This one treats the relatively stable routines of everyday life--from food production to clothing to housing to demography--on a global scale. The second and third parts (still awaiting translation) treat exchange on a local and restricted scale, and ""capitalism,"" or unbridled large-scale enterprise, respectively. Among the tidbits here are Braudel's observations on chairs: outside of Europe, chairs were conspicuous only in China--where, however, the people were at home both in chairs and on the floor (in Spain, due to the Islamic influence, women sat on cushions on the floor). But whether it's the use of chairs or the peculiarly carnivorous nature of the European diet, Braudel's emphasis is on the unchanging quality of subsistence--of the lives of the mass of people--as the ""material"" base for the faster-paced level of economic behavior that he'll describe in the next two volumes. The charts and graphs apart, the copious illustrations of everyday life are essential in making Braudel's points: one can see the unchanging, intractable existence he discusses. However little the text is changed in this second version (only in the addition of a section on potatoes and the dropping of a casual reference to Michel Foucault), the cleaner prose and the crucial paraphernalia make this a different and better book--one that's worthy of the master of French historians.

Price: HK$200.00

See all items by