The French Revolution in Social and Political Perspective

Jones, Peter
Date published: 
August 1996

Every year no fewer than 2,000 items are published on the French Revolution. The 'quantitative' problem facing students of the Revolution is formidable. It is exacerbated by the rapidly shifting contours of the subject itself: the dominance of traditional political and diplomatic history long gone, social and economic history, their usurpers, now in turn challenged by intellectual, cultural and gendered history. The purpose of this Reader is not to impose order where there is none but to capture the range of activities on which historians are engaged. It tries to identify those books and articles that may come to be seen as benchmarks, the selection angled towards the 'social' and 'political', broadly defined. There are five thematic sections: Interpretations and debates; Socio-cultural approaches; Gender in the public sphere; Revolutionary politics; The crowd, terror and counter-terror.