Merriman, John M. 1946-
Merriman, John M. 1946-
Born June 15, 1946. Education: University of Michigan, Ph.D., 1972.
Professor. Yale University, New Haven, CT, assistant professor, 1973-78, associate professor, 1978-83, professor of history, 1983-97, Charles Seymour Professor of History, 1997—. Yale University, resident fellow of Calhoun College, 1974-75 and 1976-81, master of Branford College, 1983-91, chaired the Committee on Teaching in the Residential Colleges, 1983-86, the Council on West European Studies, 1978-82, and the Committee on International Education, 1994-96; lecturer in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
French Historical Studies Association.
Fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center, 1982-85; Byrnes-Sewall Teaching Prize, Yale University, 2000; recipient of a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and a Morse Fellowship from Yale; awarded an honorary doctorate in France.
The Agony of the Republic: The Repression of the Left in Revolutionary France, 1848-1851, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1978.
The Margins of City Life: Explorations on the French Urban Frontier, 1815-1851, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1991, published in French translation in an expanded version as Aux marges de la ville: faubourgs et banlieues en France 1815-1870, Belin (Paris, France), 1994.
A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1996, 2nd edition, 2004.
(Author of update) Hendrik Willem van Loon, The Story of Mankind, Liveright (New York, NY), 1999.
The Stones of Balazuc: A French Village in Time, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2002, published in French translation as Mémoires de pierres: Balazuc, village ardéchois, Tallandier (Paris, France), 2005.
Police Stories: Building the French State, 1815-1851, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Author's books have also been translated into other languages, including French, Japanese, and Dutch.
(And author of introduction) 1830 in France, New Viewpoints (New York, NY), 1975.
Consciousness and Class Experience in Nineteenth-century Europe, Holmes & Meier (New York, NY), 1979.
French Cities in the Nineteenth Century, Holmes & Meier (New York, NY), 1981.
For Want of a Horse: Choice and Chance in History, S. Greene Press (Lexington, MA), 1985.
(With James L. McClain and Ugawa Kaoru) Edo and Paris: Urban Life and the State in the Early Modern Era, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1994.
(With Jay Winter) Europe 1789 to 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire, Scribner (Detroit, MI), 2006.
(With Jay Winter) Europe since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction, Scribner (Detroit, MI), 2006.
Member of editorial board of French Historical Studies.
John M. Merriman is the Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University where he teaches French and modern European history. In addition, he has written and edited many books on French and European history. He also frequently lectures on different aspects of his field, and has given presentations across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Merriman's area of expertise is the economic, social, and political history of France during the nineteenth century.
Merriman wrote his first book in 1978, The Agony of the Republic: The Repression of the Left in Revolutionary France, 1848-1851, and followed it up with 1985's The Red City: Limoges and the French Nineteenth Century. His third effort as author, The Margins of City Life: Explorations on the French Urban Frontier, 1815-1851, looks at the social, economic, and political consequences of urban development between 1815 and 1851 in several French cities, including Perpignan, Paris, Reims, Nimes, and Poitiers. According to Leigh Whaley in a review of the book for the Urban History Review, "The over-arching theme of the book is that of marginality in all its aspects: cultural, geographical, social and economic. Merriman tells the story of spatially isolated suburbanites who also were marginal in a social and economic sense." He believes through studying "the marginal" that one can understand the whole society. One "marginal" population that Merriman examines in his book is the town of Perpigan's working-class dwellers, the Catalans, who lived on the outskirts of town and differed linguistically, culturally, and religiously from the town's city-center population. Critic Barrie M. Ratcliffe remarked in the Urban History Review that Merriman "writes well and engagingly. Yet he has undertaken less the explorations promised in the subtitle of his study than brief excursions. We must hope, then, that his picture postcards from the archives will encourage urban historians to do further research on urban margins, their functions, their colonization and their cultures." Whaley also took issue with some aspects of the book. The critic observed that "no real attempt is made to compare the various cities under consideration." However, Whaley added that despite some issues, "this is an excellent book which fills a gap in our knowledge of the growth and development of nineteenth century French cities."
The Stones of Balazuc: A French Village in Time was touted as an "absorbing and beautifully written narrative … that should interest general readers and scholars alike" by Library Journal reviewer Marie Marmo Mullaney. Published in 2002, the book focuses on the tiny medieval village of Balazuc in the Ardeche region. Merriman looks at how great events of history, such as religious reformation and war, played out there. A Publishers Weekly contributor remarked that Merriman "has written an exhaustively researched and valuable chronicle of Balazuc," adding that he uses the small village as "an excellent lens through which to view larger economic, social and political aspects of French history." A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the book is "an appealing blend of meticulous scholarship and popular narrative," but that "lengthy accounts of local politics will strain readers' attention spans."
In 2006, Police Stories: Building the French State, 1815-1851 was published. In the book, Merriman looks at the development of professional urban police forces in the provincial cities of a postrevolutionary France. By 1815, French legislation required that every town with a population of five thousand or more was to have at least one commissaire de police (CP), with an additional CP for each ten thousand inhabitants. "No one knows the French police archives for this period better than Merriman, who has mined these sources for several earlier monographs. In this case, however, the details of the lives of policemen and those they disciplined sometimes overwhelm the argument," observed Historian reviewer Jeremy D. Popkin.
In addition to writing several books, Merriman has also edited many books in his areas of expertise. Published in 1994, Edo and Paris: Urban Life and the State in the Early Modern Era was edited by Merriman with James L. McClain and Ugawa Kaoru. The book is a collection of nineteen essays that compares the Japanese city of Edo with Paris, France, mainly from the 1590s to 1790s. The book resulted from a 1990 conference in Tokyo, Japan, about the two cities. "The volume has two main themes, ‘the city from above’ and ‘the city from below.’ The first concentrates on the influence of the state on the city…. The second theme is ‘the role of urban commoners in the emergence of Edo and Paris,’" Peter Burke wrote in his review of the book for the English Historical Review. "The editors attempted to place the essays into a comparative setting, but the thirty-eight-page introduction by McClain and Merriman is, perhaps by necessity, a parallel introductory description of the two cities set in their national background, so that readers not familiar with Japanese or French history will be able to place the essays into some kind of context," observed Susan B. Hanley in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History. "As with all such collections of essays, the work is uneven, but on balance it succeeds admirably. In their opening and closing chapters the editors give coherence to the whole and lay out their thesis that the similarity of the two experiences, not their dissimilarity, must command our attention," observed Conrad Totman in his review of the book for the Journal of Social History. "On the whole, editors James McClain, John Merriman, and Ugawa Kaoru have done an excellent job formulating a fascinating study which traces the growth and development of Edo (present day Tokyo) and Paris after these cities became the administrative capitals of their respective countries under the near absolutist regimes of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Bourbon kings," remarked J. Charles Schencking in his review of the book for the Journal of World History.
Merriman collaborated with fellow Yale University professor Jay Winter in editing Europe 1789 to 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire and its companion reference set, Europe since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction, both published in 2006. A Reference & Research Book News contributor considered Europe 1789 to 1914 a reference tool that is "authoritative but also accessible to the undergraduate student and general reader." This five-volume reference tool contains entries for countries, cities, people, art and architecture, events, inventions, and political parties. Europe since 1914, also a five-volume reference tool, provides "an often sobering insight into the many cataclysmic events of Europe's recent past," as a Reference & Research Book News contributor put it.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, February, 1987, William H. Sewell, review of The Red City: Limoges and the French Nineteenth Century, p. 143; December, 1992, Eugen Weber, review of The Margins of City Life: Explorations on the French Urban Frontier, 1815-1851, p. 1535; October, 2006, Benjamin F. Martin, review of Police Stories: Building the French State, 1815-1851, p. 1255.
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November, 1992, Paul M. Hohenberg, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 207.
Booklist, May 1, 2002, Brad Hooper, review of The Stones of Balazuc: A French Village in Time, p. 1500.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July, 2007, M. Todd, review of Europe 1789 to 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire, p. 1894.
Contemporary Sociology, November, 1996, Julia Adams, review of Edo and Paris: Urban Life and the State in the Early Modern Era, p. 773.
Eighteenth-Century Studies, spring, 1996, Lawrence E. Marceau, review of Edo and Paris.
English Historical Review, April, 1997, Peter Burke, review of Edo and Paris, p. 466.
European History Quarterly, January, 1993, Georges Depeux, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 107.
Historian, summer, 1992, Bonnie G. Smith, review of The Margins of City Life; summer, 2007, Jeremy D. Popkin, review of Police Stories.
History Today, November, 2002, review of The Stones of Balazuc, p. 71.
Japan Quarterly, April 1, 1996, Janet Goff, review of Edo and Paris, p. 222.
Journal of Asian Studies, August, 1995, Dixon V. Morris, review of Edo and Paris, p. 845.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, fall, 1996, Susan B. Hanley, review of Edo and Paris; spring, 2007, George J. Sheridan, review of Police Stories.
Journal of Modern History, June, 1987, Leo A. Loubere, review of The Red City, p. 379; December, 1993, Lynn Hollen Lees, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 858.
Journal of Social History, winter, 1992, Tyler Stovall, review of The Margins of City Life; winter, 1995, Conrad Totman, review of Edo and Paris.
Journal of the History of Ideas, October, 1991, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 701.
Journal of Urban History, February, 1989, Lenard R. Berlanstein, review of The Red City, p. 215; March, 1996, Leslie Page Moch, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 377; November, 1998, Ted W. Margadant, review of Edo and Paris, p. 130.
Journal of World History, fall, 2000, J. Charles Schencking, review of Edo and Paris.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of The Stones of Balazuc, p. 548.
Labor History, spring, 1987, William M. Reddy, review of The Red City.
Library Journal, June 15, 2002, Marie Marmo Mullaney, review of The Stones of Balazuc, p. 79.
New York Times, September 22, 1985, Elise O'Shaughnessy, review of The Red City, p. 23.
Pacific Affairs, fall, 1997, Brett L. Walker, review of Edo and Paris.
Publishers Weekly, April 1, 2002, review of The Stones of Balazuc, p. 61.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2007, review of Europe 1789 to 1914; February, 2007, review of Europe since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction.
Social Forces, December, 1991, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 572.
Times Literary Supplement, December 20, 1996, review of A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, p. 3; December 20, 2002, "A Millennium in the Midi," p. 11; January 5, 2007, "Tales to Tell an Officer," p. 9.
Urban History Review, October, 1992, Leigh Whaley, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 66; October 1992, Barrie M. Ratcliffe, review of The Margins of City Life, p. 67.
Yale University Department of History Home Page,http://www.yale.edu/history/ (December 7, 2007).