La Vie des Idées/ Books and Ideas chiefly publishes two types of text; reviews of recent works, either originally in French or a foreign language, and essays in which the authors analyse current affairs topics, present a piece of research, and draw attention to a question or issue that is under discussion either in France or abroad. Other articles take the form of videos, sometimes with a written transcription of the interview attached. La Vie des Idées/ Books and Ideas aims at reaching over to a public of non-specialists and accordingly favours a style of writing both accessible and avoids overly technical vocabulary wherever possible.
Each text is read collectively by the editorial committee, who then reserve the right to decide whether to publish the piece. La Vie des Idées/ Books and Ideas editorial team carefully reviews the texts, and the committee and copy-editing team may ask for further material, amendments and clarifications. The title of the article is chosen by the editors.
The reviews published in Books and Ideas intend to be as objective as possible. We would like there to be a certain distance between the reviewer and the book’s author, as to ensure the greatest possible neutrality of the review—a neutrality that friendship or institutional relations could compromise. For this reason, we do not review the books written or published by the members of the editorial team.
The reviews published in La Vie des Idées/ Books and Ideas differ from the type that can be found in academic and specialist reviews. The aim here is to publish a piece of work that either relates to a particular discipline, or to a particular topic of debate which could be of interest to the wider reading public, and to put forward a general thesis without necessarily spelling out in detail, chapter by chapter, every single point of the argument. The reviews can represent a spring-board for genuine critical debate on the interpretation of events, the methods used or the theoretical options put forward. It goes without saying that indirect criticism, innuendo or personal attack are not permitted.
The ideal length for reviews is between 8,000 and 10,000 characters (including spaces) and between 10,000 and 30,000 characters (including spaces) for essays. To make the texts easier to read, we strongly recommend that they be divided under subheadings (3-4 subheadings per review and 5-6 per essay.) As the texts are often translated, we would ask for all quotations to be translated into the language of the text (where possible) and to then be followed by the English translation, and for all page numbers to be indicated.
Authors are always encouraged to make full use of Internet resources that enhance the presentation of their articles, such as web links (preferably provided at the end of the article under the ‘Further Reading’ section), tables, images and maps (that are not under copy-right.)
It is important not to have too many footnotes. References to other works under review can be included in the body of the text in parentheses (p. 112). It is possible to include within the text one or more explanatory diagrams to highlight certain ideas, authors or issues under debate. With essays, the bibliography can be included at the end of the article under the section titled ‘Further Reading.’
Each new author provides a brief biography with a photograph (in digital format) to go on his personal page. The biography can include the following information: profession, any institutions they may be a part of, research subjects they may be working on, recent publications, and links to a personal website.
Formal criteria for text layout.
– Font: Times New Roman, font size 12, 1.5 spacing.
– Footnotes (these are not the same as the notes at the end of the article): font size 10, 1 spacing, reference marks in superscript (1,2, etc.)
– Long quotations: font size 11, 1 spacing.
– Bibliography layout:
For books: Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein, Nudge. Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2008.
For anthologies: John Brewer, Roy Porter (dir.), Consumption and the World of Goods, London, Routledge, 1993.
For chapters from an anthology: Joel Slemrod, “Trust in public finance”, in Sijbren Cnossen, Hans-Werner Sinn (dir.), Public Finance and Public Policy in the New Century, Cambridge (Mass.), MIT Press, 2003, pp. 49-88.
For articles: Patricia Clavin, “Defining Transnationalism”, Contemporary European History, vol. 14, n° 4, 2005, pp. 421-439.
– Links should be indicated between parentheses - (www.booksandideas.net).
– English-style inverted commas should be used “ … ” including for references made to English language articles: Wolfram Kaiser, “Cultural Transfers of Free Trade at the World Exhibitions, 1851-1862”, Journal of Modern History, n° 77, 2005, pp. 563-590). For quotes within quotes, English-style inverted commas without a space should be used “ ‘…’ ”.
– The use of inverted commas should be avoided unless in quotations or article titles. Italics should be avoided unless quoting in a foreign language or in the title of the work or journal.
– Non-breaking spaces should be used after colons and semicolons, and formations such as p. XX.
– Capital letters should be used at the start of sentences (« This issue ») and in words such as United States etc.
– ‘Etc’ should be used rather than ‘…’.