The French Revolution: A History. Volume 3: The Guillotine

Of this third, and final, phase of the French Revolution, including that period known as The Terror, Carlyle comments “It is unfortunate, though very natural, that the history of this Period has so generally been written in hysterics.” Carlyle’s own account of the prominent personalities and “two great movements” that dominate this phase of the revolution—”a rushing against domestic Traitors, a rushing against foreign Despots”— spares us none of the drama, yet is surprisingly compassionate and understanding from an author whose own society was riven with social inequalities that might conceivably have led to insurrection. Particularly memorable are Carlyle’s portraits of Danton, Marat and Robespierre, and some brief, and ultimately decisive, appearances from one Napoleon Bonaparte.

Genre(s): Early Modern

Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881)

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