Radiographie de la Revue des questions historiques

par Laurent Larcher
1997, in La Revue des revues n° 23

From the very beginning in 1866 and up to the end in 1939, the Revue des questions historiques (RQH, « Journal of Historical Questions ») held an important although often unrecognized place among French historiography at the turn of the 19th century. The RQH had the originality of being at once the first scholarly journal in France (it was based on the model of Henri von Sybel’s Historische Zeitschrift (1859) and preceeded Gabriel Monod’s Historical journal (1876) by ten years) the RQH willfully reestablished catholic scientific history (pre-eminance of documents, autonomy of method) and anchored French historiography in a more distant past than the German School because it was founded in the benedictine tradition. Thus the RQH, of catholic inspiration and monarchistic leanings, drew strength from the massive collaboration of chartists and learned church or laymen. It constitutes an important moment in the rise of scientific history in France as well as in the intellectual history of catholics: by demanding autonomous work methods, the RQH sowed the seeds of the modernist up-heaval. The RQH was an innovative journal as well as a sociable and moralistic one. To study it is to enter a catholic mode, forgotten today, of political, religious and intellectual reconquest of French society. The editorial network was built around the Victor Palmé bookshop but its intellectual network also included the Bibliographical Society which, like the RQH, was founded by the marquis of Beaucourt and which had available to it a wealth of journals and correspondants in France and abroad, not to mention that of international scientific catholic congresses and newly created catholic Institutes.
In this article, we relate the history of the RQHs material lifespan from the foundation to its disappearance in 1945.

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