Vitrine de la recherche actuelle dans sa diversité, ce volume, fruit d’un colloque organisé à l’Université de Liège, réunit les contributions de doctorants, post-doctorants et enseignants-chercheurs belges (francophones, néerlandophones et germanophones) ainsi que d’historiens français et luxembourgeois. Illustrant un fécond dialogue intergénérationnel, ces contributions offrent, quel que soit le cadre chronologique et géographique investigué, un éventail des pratiques aussi bien au point de vue de la manière d’aborder les biographies de diplomates qu’à ceux de la méthodologie et des sources mises en œuvre.
To Become A Diplomat. Elements of a Collective Biography of the Belgian Diplomatic Corps before the First World War
Sunday 23 April 1911 had been a warm and sunny day. That evening, twenty-five year old count André de Kerchove de Denterghem sat down at his writing table, and started to compose a letter to his beloved wife Marguerite, who was the youngest daughter of the successful banker Fernand Maskens1. Young de Kerchove could easily have delivered his message verbally, as his wife and he were living together under the roof of the majestic Château de Beervelde, a Tudor-style castle that the count’s family had erected a few decades earlier. However, such a manner of proceeding would not have matched the way a nobleman took important household decisions. Moreover, it did not allow for the intellectuality of both spouses to be deployed to the fullest in resolving the matter. The couple had been married since one year only, after André had enjoyed a foretaste of diplomacy way of life as an attaché at the Belgian legation in Tokyo2. Having returned from the mission in London and with the prospect of the diplomatic exam, Marguerite and he had to decide whether or not to embark upon a diplomatic career. Kerchove wrote : « Il me semble qu’il convient de diviser ce petit ‘schéma de vie’ en 4 parties : I) Avantages de la Carrière II) Désavantages III) Avantages de la vie en Belgique IV) Ses désavantages. Je désire que sur la ½ feuille qui reste blanche, ma petite ← 107...
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