" Ceux qui (...) ont mis très haut leur idéal ont été justifiés par l'histoire. " (Jean Jaurès, Discours à la jeunesse). Tout pour découvrir ou redécouvrir des discours écrits pour être proclamés, projetés dans l'action, comme le furent leurs auteurs (Mirabeau, Barnave, Condorcet, Vergniaud, Danton, Robespierre, Saint-Just). Première approche : Les orateurs face à un monde en mutation, quelques acteurs de la Révolution, les clubs, l'éloquence révolutionnaire. Documentation thématique : Les inspirateurs de la Révolution, la Révolution vue d'Allemagne et d'Angleterre, la parole en action aux XIXe et XXe siècles. Annexes : Les sources des textes, Révolution et romantisme, portraits des orateurs, les orateurs et la critique, bibliographie, filmographie. Petit dictionnaire : L'art de l'éloquence (tous les termes utiles pour expliquer et commenter les discours réunis dans l'ouvrage). L'œuvre est accompagnée : de note en bas de page pour faciliter la lecture, de guides de lecture, présentés sous forme de questions regroupées, afin d'approfondir l'analyse des textes. L'illustration apporte un supplément d'informations.
On Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Author: James Swenson
Publisher: Stanford University Press
In order to grasp what it means to call Rousseau an "author" of the Revolution, as so many revolutionaries did, it is necessary to take full measure of the difficulties of literary interpretation to which Rousseau's work gives rise, particularly around such a charged term as "author." On Jean-Jacques Rousseau shows that Rousseau's texts consistently generate a division in their own reading, a division both designated and masked by the fiction of authorship. These divisions can occur successively—as in the narrative reversals and discontinuities characteristic of Rousseau's fictional and autobiographical works—or simultaneously, in the form of incompatible attempts to apply the lessons of a single text to an urgent historical moment. Given the structure of these texts, their "influence" can only occur in an equally paradoxical form. Rousseau's contribution to revolutionary thinking lies in his conceptualization of the constitutive function of misunderstanding and narrative discontinuity, in history and political action as well as in literature. Such misunderstandings and discontinuities are particularly well illustrated by the vicissitudes of the reading of Rousseau's texts during the revolutionary period, a moment when "readings" occurred as political programs. The Revolution enacted Rousseau precisely to the extent that revolutionaries could not agree on what action he called for. He is "one of the first authors of the Revolution" not because he was one of its causes, but because he provided the terms in which the logic of the revolutionary process becomes intelligible.
Author: Ruth Scurr
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
A riveting biography of the French Revolution's most enigmatic figure that restores him to his pivotal historic place Since his execution by guillotine in July 1794, Maximilien Robespierre has been contested terrain for historians, at once the most notorious leader of the French Revolution and the least comprehensible. Was he a bloodthirsty charlatan or the only true defender of revolutionary ideals? Was his extreme moralism—he was known as "The Incorruptible"—a heroic virtue or a ruinous flaw? Was he the first modern dictator or the earliest democrat? Against the dramatic backdrop of the French Revolution, historian Ruth Scurr follows the trajectory of Robespierre's paradoxical life, from his unprepossessing beginnings as a provincial lawyer opposed to repressive authority and the death penalty, to his meteoric rise in Paris politics as a devastatingly efficient revolutionary leader, righteous and paranoid in equal measure. She explores his reformist zeal, his role in the trial of the king and the fall of the monarchy, his passionate attempt to design a modern republic, even his extraordinary effort to found a perfect religion. And she follows him into the depths of the Terror, as he makes summary execution the order of the day, himself falling victim to the violence at the age of thirty-six. Written with epic sweep, full of nuance and insight, Fatal Purity is a fascinating portrait of a man who identified with the Revolution to the point of madness, and in so doing changed the course of history.
Author: Barry M. Shapiro
Publisher: Penn State Press
The opening events of the French Revolution have stood as some of the most familiar in modern European history. Traumatic Politics emerges as a fresh voice from the existing historiography of this widely studied course of events. In applying a psychological lens to the classic problem of why the French Revolution’s first representative assembly was unable to reach a workable accommodation with Louis XVI, Barry Shapiro contends that some of the key political decisions made by the Constituent Assembly were, in large measure, the product of traumatic reactions to the threats to the lives of its members in the summer of 1789. As a result, Assembly policy frequently reflected a preoccupation with what had happened in the past rather than active engagement with present political realities. In arguing that the manner in which the Assembly dealt with the king bears the imprint of the behavior that typically follows exposure to traumatic events, Shapiro focuses on oscillating periods of traumatic repetition and traumatic denial. Highlighting the historical impact of what could be viewed as a relatively “mild” trauma, he suggests that trauma theory has a much wider field of potential applicability than that previously established by historians, who have generally confined themselves to studying the impact of massively traumatic events such as war and genocide. Moreover, in emphasizing the extent to which monarchical loyalties remained intact on the eve of the Revolution, this book also challenges the widely accepted contention that prerevolutionary cultural and discursive innovations had “desacralized” the king well before 1789.
Aulard's eight-volume study of the French Revolution (originally published 1893-1921) was a pioneering work of historicist research.
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