Aux origines am'ricaine et 'cossaise de Pontigny: Patrick Geddes et Paul Desjardins.

Steel, D. A. (2006) Aux origines am'ricaine et 'cossaise de Pontigny: Patrick Geddes et Paul Desjardins. Bulletin des Amis d'André Gide, 34 (149). pp. 33-53. ISSN 0044-8133

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This article furnishes scholarship on the French academic Paul Desjardins (1859-1941), critic, social reformer, intellectual impresario, noted for his founding of the early Parisian think-tank 'L'Union pour l'Action Morale/la V'rit'' (1892>) as also more famously of the 'Entretiens de Pontigny' (1910-14/1922-1939). These latter were summer residential colloquia assembling the elite intelligentsia of Europe - writers, critics, philosophers, scientists (and selected students) - for 10-day debates on set topics. The article includes hitherto unpublished correspondence and discovers and demonstrates: 1) that Desjardins's model for the Entretiens de Pontigny was the series of Summer Meetings organized between 1887 and 1903 in Edinburgh by Patrick Geddes, Scottish biologist, educationalist, social reformer, town planner (biographical/historical pr'cis given for French readership), who in turn was inspired by the first summer schools at Chautauqua U.S.A. (concise account provided); and 2) that Desjardins, invited by Geddes, himself attended the Edinburgh summer schools as lecturer, remained in lifelong contact with Geddes and later invited him to Pontigny. Within the framework of 1890s Franco-Scottish intellectual networking, the submitted article hypothesizes on the origins of the Desjardins-Geddes link, establishes Desjardins's Edinburgh contributions, his early and subsequent relations with Geddes, and analyzes affinities and contrasts between their respective notions of the summer school as pioneering pedagogical instrument or crucible for elite international intellectual exchange. All material presented here on the Geddes-Desjardins interchange is new, stems from archival research, and significantly adds to the previously constituted state of biographical-critical knowledge of Desjardins, of Franco-Scottish intellectual sociability 1890-1930, and of the pedagogical origins of the Pontigny colloquia.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Bulletin des Amis d'André Gide
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RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : European Studies
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06 Mar 2008 15:02
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 20:21