The French Revolution is one of the great turning-points in history. It continues to fascinate us, to inspire us, at times to horrify us. Never before had the people of a large and populous country sought to remake their society on the basis of the principles of liberty and equality. The drama, success and tragedy of their project have attracted students to it for more than two centuries. Its importance and fascination for us are undiminished as we try to understand revolutions in our own times.
There are three key questions the book investigates. First, why was there a revolution in 1789? Second, why did the revolution continue after 1789, culminating in civil war, foreign invasion and terror? Third, what was the significance of the revolution? Was the French Revolution a major turning-point in French, even world history, or instead just a protracted period of violent upheaval and warfare which wrecked millions of lives?
The French Revolution: Faith, Desire, and Politicsoffers a fresh treatment of this perennially popular and hugely significant topic, introducing a bold interpretation of the Revolution that highlights the key role that religion and sexuality played in determining the shape of the Revolution. These were issues that occupied the minds and helped shape the actions of women and men; from the pornographic pamphlets about queen Marie-Antoinette to the puritanical morality of revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre, from the revolutionary catechisms that children learned and to the anathemas hurled on the Revolution from clandestine priests in the countryside. The people who lived through the French Revolution were surrounded by messages about gender, sex, religion and faith, concerns which did not exist outside of the events of the Revolution.
This book is an essential resource for students of the French Revolution, History of Catholicism and Women and Gender.
In the hands of Eric Hazan, author of The Invention of Paris, the revolution becomes a rational and pure struggle for emancipation. In this new history, the first significant account of the French Revolution in over twenty years, Hazan maintains that it fundamentally changed the Western world – for the better.
Looking at history from the bottom up, providing an account of working people and peasants, Hazan asks, how did they see their opportunities? What were they fighting for? What was the Terror and could it be justified? And how was the revolution stopped in its tracks? The People’s History of the French Revolution is a vivid retelling of events, bringing them to life with a multitude of voices. Only in this way, by understanding the desires and demands of the lower classes, can the revolutionary bloodshed and the implacable will of a man such as Robespierre be truly understood.
David Garrioch rewrites the origins of the Parisian Revolution as the story of an urban metamorphosis stimulated by factors such as the spread of the Enlightenment, the growth of consumerism, and new ideas about urban space. With an eye on the broad social trends emerging during the century, he focuses his narrative on such humble but fascinating aspects of daily life as traffic congestion, a controversy over the renumbering of houses, and the ever-present dilemma of where to bury the dead. He describes changes in family life and women's social status, in religion, in the literary imagination, and in politics.
Paris played a significant role in sparking the French Revolution, and in turn, the Revolution changed the city, not only its political structures but also its social organization, gender ideologies, and cultural practices. This book is the first to look comprehensively at the effect of the Revolution on city life. Based on the author's own research in Paris and on the most current scholarship, this absorbing book takes French history in new directions, providing a new understanding of the Parisian and the European past.