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French revolution

Related: 1789 - France - bourgeoisie - mob rule - working class - mass society - revolution

The French Revolution is widely seen as a major turning point in continental European history, from the age of monarchies to that of the bourgeoisie, and even of the masses, as the dominant political force.

Richard Davenport Hines has called Frankenstein gothic literature's most enduring parable of French revolutionary excess.

Painting by Jean-Pierre Louis Laurent Houel (1735-1813), entitled Prise de la Bastille ("The storm of the Bastille").


The period of the French Revolution in the history of France covers the years between 1789 and 1799, in which democrats and republicans overthrew the absolute monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church perforce underwent radical restructuring. While France would oscillate among republic, empire, and monarchy for 75 years after the First Republic fell to a coup by Napoleon Bonaparte, the revolution nonetheless spelled a definitive end to the ancien régime, and eclipses all subsequent revolutions in France in the popular imagination. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_revolution [Oct 2004]

Subversive Words (1994) - Arlette Farge

Subversive Words: Public Opinion in 18th Century France (1994) - Arlette Farge [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Publishers Weekly
Farge clearly recognizes the danger of writing about public opinion in 18th-century France: ``that of setting out to find, in an eighteenth century which we know ended in revolution, a current of hostile opinion becoming continually stronger until it naturally reaches the upsurge of 1789.'' Probably more important than the piggy-backed episodes of hostility Farge records is the changing attitude to the whole idea of a popular opinion in the first place. Over the course of the century, popular opinion went from something that was officially considered nonexistent to an increasingly powerful political force.

Farge draws not only on well-known memoirs but on the ephemeral news-sheets and the gazetins, the reports of police observers and spies popularly called mouches (flies) culled from the old Bastille archives. Starting in 1713 with the anti-Jansenist papal bull Unigenitus and continuing on through Damiens's attack on Louis XV in 1758, public reaction returned time and again to the abuse of power in the first case and to the vulnerability of the king in the second. If Farge is leery of interpreting the events of the first half of the century as leading inexorably up to the second, her account still gives an intriguing look into a volatile but important factor in the formation of modern French history. --Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. via Amazon.com

see also: 1700s - subversion

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