The Coming of the French Revolution / Edition 1

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Overview

This classic work details what happened in France during the year 1789, the first year of the French Revolution. First published in 1939 for the sesquicentennial of the Revolution, the book was suppressed by the Vichy government after the outbreak of the Second World War and the subsequent collapse of the Third Republic. Since most copies of the original French edition were destroyed, the work remained virtually unknown until Princeton University Press published R. R. Palmer's English translation in 1947. This new edition includes an introduction by Timothy Tackett that provides a short intellectual biography of Georges Lefebvre and a critical appraisal of the book after the research and reassessment of three generations of historians.

In 1939, in observation of the 150th anniversary of the French Revolution, and on the eve of the Second World War, the great French historian Georges Lefebvre published this classic study of the beginnings of the French Revolution, from the summer of 1788 to October 1789. Lefebvre's signature contribution was writing history "from below"--a Marxist approach--and his particular specialty was the French Revolution as viewed from the experiences of the peasantry. Placing the "common people" at the center of his analysis, Lefebvre emphasized the class struggles within France and the significant role they played in the coming of the Revolution. With the beginning of World War II and the rise of the Vichy government in France, however, Lefebvre's book was suppressed and burned as a piece of blasphemous and revolutionary literature.

R. R. Palmer, himself a distinguished historian of the French Revolution, translated the book into English, earning it widespread readership and recognition in the Anglo-American world. Although recent historians have reinterpreted the Revolution and disputed Lefebvre's conclusions, The Coming of the French Revolution remains essential reading for anyone interested in the origins of this great turning point in the formation of the modern world. More important, as Palmer pointed out, studying the origins of the French Revolution broadens contemporary understanding of democracy, dictatorship, and revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
Praise for Princeton's previous editions: [M]uch more than a history of 1789. . . . [A] synthesis, conveying a philosophy of the Revolution as a whole, such as could be written only by a seasoned scholar. . . . The smooth, careful translation preserves the literary merit of the French prose.
From the Publisher

Praise for Princeton's previous editions: "[M]uch more than a history of 1789. . . . [A] synthesis, conveying a philosophy of the Revolution as a whole, such as could be written only by a seasoned scholar. . . . The smooth, careful translation preserves the literary merit of the French prose."--American Historical Review
American Historical Review
Praise for Princeton's previous editions: "[M]uch more than a history of 1789. . . . [A] synthesis, conveying a philosophy of the Revolution as a whole, such as could be written only by a seasoned scholar. . . . The smooth, careful translation preserves the literary merit of the French prose.
Booknews
**** A reprint of the Princeton edition of 1947 (an earlier reprint of which--Vintage Books, 1957--is endorsed by BCL3) with a new preface by the translator. Lefebvre was one of the great interpreters of the French Revolution, and thus has a place among the great historians. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691121888
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/18/2005
  • Series: Princeton Classic Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 642,129
  • Product dimensions: 5.45 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Georges Lefebvre (1874-1959) was one of the major twentieth-century historians of the French Revolution. Timothy Tackett is Professor of History at University of California, Irvine. His previous books include "Becoming a Revolutionary" (Princeton).
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Table of Contents

Introduction by Timothy Tackett vii
Note to the Princeton Classic Edition xxxi
From the Translator’s 1988 Preface xxxiii
Prologue 1

PART I: THE ARISTOCRATIC REVOLUTION

Chapter 1: The Aristocracy 7
Chapter 2: The Crisis of the Monarchy 21

PART II: THE BOURGEOIS REVOLUTION

Chapter 3: The Bourgeoisie 39
Chapter 4: The First Victory of the Bourgeoisie 49
Chapter 5: The Estates-General 73

PART III: THE POPULAR REVOLUTION

Chapter 6: The Mobilization of the Masses 93
Chapter 7: The Paris Revolution of July 14 108
Chapter 8: The Municipal Revolutions in the Provinces 121

PART IV: THE PEASANT REVOLUTION

Chapter 9: The Peasantry 129
Chapter 10: The Agrarian Revolts and the Great Fear 142

PART V: THE RIGHTS OF MAN AND CITIZEN

Chapter 11: The Problem of the Privileges 153
Chapter 12: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen 167

PART VI: THE OCTOBER DAYS

Chapter 13: The Revolutionary Solution in the Balance 183
Chapter 14: The Popular Agitation 190
Chapter 15: The October Days: Confirmation by Violence 196

Conclusion 207
Appendix I: Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen 219
Appendix II: Other Books by Georges Lefebvre 223
Index 225

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