Title page of the first edition from 1837.
|Publisher||Chapman & Hall, London|
The French Revolution: A History was written by the Scottish essayist, philosopher, and historian Thomas Carlyle. The three-volume work, first published in 1837 (with a revised edition in print by 1857), charts the course of the French Revolution from 1789 to the height of the Reign of Terror (1793–94) and culminates in 1795. A massive undertaking which draws together a wide variety of sources, Carlyle's history—despite the unusual style in which it is written—is considered to be an authoritative account of the early course of the Revolution.
The Scottish people or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. Later, the neighbouring Celtic-speaking Cumbrians, as well as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Norse, were incorporated into the Scottish nation.
An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element, humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?
John Stuart Mill, a friend of Carlyle's, found himself caught up in other projects and unable to meet the terms of a contract he had signed with his publisher for a history of the French Revolution. Mill proposed that Carlyle produce the work instead; Mill even sent his friend a library of books and other materials concerning the Revolution, and by 1834 Carlyle was working furiously on the project. When he had completed the first volume, Carlyle sent his only complete manuscript to Mill. While in Mill's care the manuscript was destroyed, according to Mill by a careless household maid who mistook it for trash and used it as a firelighter. Carlyle then rewrote the entire manuscript, achieving what he described as a book that came "direct and flamingly from the heart."
John Stuart Mill, usually cited as J. S. Mill, was a British philosopher, political economist, and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control.
The book immediately established Carlyle's reputation as an important 19th century intellectual. It also served as a major influence on a number of his contemporaries, including Charles Dickens, who compulsively carried the book around with him,and drew on it while producing A Tale of Two Cities for his crowd scenes in particular. The book was closely studied by Mark Twain during the last year of his life, and it was reported to be the last book he read before his death.
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.
A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a historical novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel tells the story of the French Doctor Manette, his 18-year-long imprisonment in the Bastille in Paris and his release to live in London with his daughter Lucie, whom he had never met. The story is set against the conditions that led up to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. His novels include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "The Great American Novel".
As a historical account, The French Revolution has been both enthusiastically praised and bitterly criticized for its style of writing, which is highly unorthodox within historiography. Where most professional historians attempt to assume a neutral, detached tone of writing, or a semi-official style in the tradition of Thomas Babington Macaulay,Carlyle unfolds his history by often writing in present-tense first-person plural as though he and the reader were observers, indeed almost participants, on the streets of Paris at the fall of the Bastille or the public execution of Louis XVI. This, naturally, involves the reader by simulating the history itself instead of solely recounting historical events.
Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers how historians have studied that topic using particular sources, techniques, and theoretical approaches. Scholars discuss historiography by topic – such as the "historiography of the United Kingdom", the "historiography of Canada", "historiography of the British Empire", the "historiography of early Islam", the "historiography of China" – and different approaches and genres, such as political history and social history. Beginning in the nineteenth century, with the ascent of academic history, there developed a body of historiographic literature. The extent to which historians are influenced by their own groups and loyalties – such as to their nation state – is a debated question.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, FRS FRSE PC was a British historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist, on contemporary and historical sociopolitical subjects, and as a reviewer. His The History of England was a seminal and paradigmatic example of Whig historiography, and its literary style has remained an object of praise since its publication, including subsequent to the widespread condemnation of its historical contentions which became popular in the 20th century.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.
Carlyle further augments this dramatic effect by employing a style of prose poetry that makes extensive use of personification and metaphor—a style that critics have called exaggerated, excessive, and irritating. Supporters, on the other hand, often label it as ingenious. John D. Rosenberg, a Professor of humanities at Columbia University and a member of the latter camp, has commented that Carlyle writes "as if he were a witness-survivor of the Apocalypse. [...] Much of the power of The French Revolution lies in the shock of its transpositions, the explosive interpenetration of modern fact and ancient myth, of journalism and Scripture."Take, for example, Carlyle's recounting of the death of Robespierre under the axe of the Guillotine:
Prose poetry is poetry written in prose instead of using verse but preserving poetic qualities such as heightened imagery, parataxis and emotional effects.
Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and politician, as well as one of the best known and most influential figures associated with the French Revolution. As a member of the Estates-General, the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the citizen without a voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to petition. He campaigned for universal suffrage, abolition of celibacy, religious tolerance and the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. He played an important role after the Storming of the Tuileries, which led to the establishment of a French Republic on 22 September 1792.
|“||All eyes are on Robespierre's Tumbril, where he, his jaw bound in dirty linen, with his half-dead Brother and half-dead Henriot, lie shattered, their "seventeen hours" of agony about to end. The Gendarmes point their swords at him, to show the people which is he. A woman springs on the Tumbril; clutching the side of it with one hand, waving the other Sibyl-like; and exclaims: "The death of thee gladdens my very heart, m'enivre de joi"; Robespierre opened his eyes; "Scélérat, go down to Hell, with the curses of all wives and mothers!" -- At the foot of the scaffold, they stretched him on the ground till his turn came. Lifted aloft, his eyes again opened; caught the bloody axe. Samson wrenched the coat off him; wrenched the dirty linen from his jaw: the jaw fell powerless, there burst from him a cry; — hideous to hear and see. Samson, thou canst not be too quick!||”|
Thus, Carlyle invents for himself a style that combines epic poetry with philosophical treatise, exuberant story-telling with scrupulous attention to historical fact. The result is a work of history that is perhaps entirely unique,and one that is still in print nearly 200 years after it was first published. With its (ambivalent) celebration of the coming of Democracy, and its warning to the Victorian Aristocracy, the work was celebrated by Lord Acton as “the volumes that delivered our fathers from thraldom to Burke”.
Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman born in Dublin, as well as an author, orator, political theorist and philosopher, who after moving to London in 1750 served as a member of parliament (MP) between 1766 and 1794 in the House of Commons with the Whig Party.
|Wikisource has the text of a 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article about The French Revolution: A History .|
Edward Gibbon FRS was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its polemical criticism of organised religion.
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.
Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the historical novel, it can also be applied to other types of narrative, including theatre, opera, cinema and television, as well as video games and graphic novels.
Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, translator, historian, mathematician, and teacher. Considered one of the most important social commentators of his time, he presented many lectures during his lifetime with certain acclaim in the Victorian era. One of those conferences resulted in his famous work On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History where he explains that the key role in history lies in the actions of the "Great Man", claiming that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men".
James Anthony Froude was an English historian, novelist, biographer, and editor of Fraser's Magazine. From his upbringing amidst the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement, Froude intended to become a clergyman, but doubts about the doctrines of the Anglican church, published in his scandalous 1849 novel The Nemesis of Faith, drove him to abandon his religious career. Froude turned to writing history, becoming one of the best known historians of his time for his History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada. Inspired by Thomas Carlyle, Froude's historical writings were often fiercely polemical, earning him a number of outspoken opponents. Froude continued to be controversial up until his death for his Life of Carlyle, which he published along with personal writings of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. These publications illuminated Carlyle's often selfish personality, and led to persistent gossip and discussion of the couple's marital problems.
Hippolyte Adolphe Taine was a French critic and historian. He was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism, a major proponent of sociological positivism and one of the first practitioners of historicist criticism. Literary historicism as a critical movement has been said to originate with him. Taine is also remembered for his attempts to provide a scientific account of literature.
Whig history is an approach to historiography that presents the past as an inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment, culminating in modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy.
The historiography of the French Revolution stretches back over two hundred years, as commentators and historians have sought to answer questions regarding the origins of the Revolution, and its meaning and effects. By the year 2000, many historians were saying that the field of the French Revolution was in intellectual disarray. The old model or paradigm focusing on class conflict has been challenged but no new explanatory model had gained widespread support. Nevertheless, there persists a very widespread agreement to the effect that the French Revolution was the watershed between the premodern and modern eras of Western history.
The Battle of Moys was a battle fought on 7 September 1757 during the Third Silesian War. A Prussian army of 13,000 men fought an Austrian army of double their size. The entire Prussian corps surrendered to the Austrians.
Sartor Resartus is an 1836 novel by Thomas Carlyle, first published as a serial in Fraser's Magazine in November 1833–August 1834. The novel purports to be a commentary on the thought and early life of a German philosopher called Diogenes Teufelsdröckh, author of a tome entitled "Clothes: Their Origin and Influence", but is actually a poioumenon. Teufelsdröckh's Transcendentalist musings are mulled over by a sceptical English Reviewer who also provides fragmentary biographical material on the philosopher. The work is, in part, a parody of Hegel, and of German Idealism more generally. However, Teufelsdröckh is also a literary device with which Carlyle can express difficult truths.
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte is an 1896 novel by Mark Twain that recounts the life of Joan of Arc. It is Twain's last completed novel, published when he was 61 years old.
Alfred Cobban was an English historian and professor of French history at University College, London, who along with prominent French historian François Furet advocated a Revisionist view of the French Revolution.
The social novel, also known as the social problem novel, is a "work of fiction in which a prevailing social problem, such as gender, race, or class prejudice, is dramatized through its effect on the characters of a novel". More specific examples of social problems that are addressed in such works include poverty, conditions in factories and mines, the plight of child labor, violence against women, rising criminality, and epidemics because of over-crowding, and poor sanitation in cities.
Jane Welsh Carlyle was a Scottish writer. She was the wife of essayist Thomas Carlyle.
The essay "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question" was written by the Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle about the acceptability of using black slaves and indentured servants. It was first anonymously published as an article in Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country of London in December, 1849, and was reprinted as a pamphlet four years later with the title, "Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question". The essay was the spark of a debate between Carlyle and John Stuart Mill.
La Henriade is an epic poem of 1723 written by the French Enlightenment writer and philosopher Voltaire. According to Voltaire himself, the poem concerns and was written in honour of the life of Henry IV of France, and is a celebration of his life. The ostensible subject is the siege of Paris in 1589 by Henry III in concert with Henry of Navarre, soon to be Henry IV, but its themes are the twin evils of religious fanaticism and civil discord. It also concerns the political state of France. Voltaire aimed to be the French Virgil, outdoing the master by preserving Aristotelian unity of place—a property of classical tragedy rather than epic—by keeping the human action confined between Paris and Ivry. It was first printed in 1723, and reprinted dozens of times within Voltaire's lifetime.
John Wyon Burrow was an English historian of intellectual history. His published works include assessments of the Whig interpretation of history and of historiography generally. According to The Independent: "John Burrow was one of the leading intellectual historians of his generation. His pioneering work marked the beginning of a more sophisticated approach to the history of the social sciences, one that did not treat the past as being of interest only in so far as it anticipated the present."
An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs is a book written by the Irish Whig MP and philosopher, Edmund Burke, published on 3 August 1791.