Monday, July 25, 2011

Book News: Upcoming French Revolution releases

I've been on the lookout for some new French Revolution book releases lately and thankfully, among the dozens of sketchy reprints of public domain books, there are a few new upcoming works that look very interesting.

Time and the French Revolution: The Republican Calendar, 1789-Year XIV by Matthew Shaw

Release Date: August 18, 2011

The French Republican Calendar was perhaps the boldest of all the reforms undertaken in Revolutionary France. Introduced in 1793 and used until 1806, the Calendar not only reformed the weeks and months of the year, but decimalised the hours of the day and dated the year from the beginning of the French Republic. This book not only provides a history of the calendar, but places it in the context of eighteenth-century time-consciousness, arguing that the French were adept at working within several systems of time-keeping, whether that of the Church, civil society, or the rhythms of the seasons. Developments in time-keeping technology and changes in working patterns challenged early-modern temporalities, and the new calendar can also be viewed as a step on the path toward a more modern conception of time. In this context, the creation of the calendar is viewed not just as an aspect of the broader republican programme of social, political and cultural reform, but as a reflection of a broader interest in time and the culmination of several generations' concern with how society should be policed.

Revolution and the Republic: A History of Political Thought in France since the Eighteenth-Century by Jeremy Jennings

Release Date: August 23, 2011

Revolution and the Republic provides a new and wide-ranging interpretation of political thought in France from the eighteenth century to the present day. At its heart are the dramatic and violent events associated with the French Revolution of 1789 and the birth of the First Republic in 1792. For the next two centuries, writers in France struggled to make sense of these and subsequent events in French revolutionary history, producing a rich and perceptive analysis of the nature of republican government. But, as Revolution and the Republic shows, these important debates were not limited to the narrow confines of politics and to the writing of constitutions. Such was their significance that they occupied a central place in discussions about religion, science, philosophy, commerce, and the writing of history. They also shaped arguments about the character of France and the French nation as well as polemics about the role of intellectuals in French society. Moreover, they continue to be of importance in France today as the country faces the challenges posed by globalisation, multiculturalism, and the reform of the welfare state. Integrating the perspectives of intellectual history, political theory, social and cultural history, and political economy, Jeremy Jennings has written a study of political ideas that appeals to all those interested in the history of modern France and Europe more generally. 

The Perfect Foil: Francois-Andre Vincent and the Revolution in French Painting by Elizabeth C. Mansfield

Release Date: December 22, 2011

Art history is haunted by the foil: the dark star whose diminished luster sets off another’s brilliance. Relegated to this role by modern historians of Revolutionary-era French art, François-André Vincent (1746–1816) is chiefly viewed in the reflection of his contemporary, Jacques-Louis David. The Perfect Foil frees Vincent from this distorting mirror. Offering a nuanced and historically accurate account of Vincent’s life and work, Elizabeth C. Mansfield reveals the artist’s profound influence on the visual culture of the French Revolution—and, paradoxically, on the art historical narrative that would consign him to obscurity.

By giving us a detailed and faithful portrait of this artist poised at the turning point of history, Mansfield restores a critically important body of work to its rightful place in the story of French art and reorients Revolutionary-era French art history toward a broader, more inclusive understanding of the period.

A New Dictionary of the French Revolution by Richard Ballard

Release Date: January 17, 2012

The French Revolution was a huge, brutal yet inspiring phenomenon that changed global political thinking and action, and its echoes resound even in the twenty-first century. It was an intensely complex mix of events, concepts and individuals and 'The New Dictionary' is an invaluable aid to unravelling its complications, and an essential companion for students and general readers alike. There are over 400 entries covering the main events, personalities, parties, ideologies, political ideas, philosophers, writers, artists, rebellions and wars, as well as touching on colonial and international developments, the interaction of church and state, science, law reform, events in the provinces and overseas territories and the reverberations in other European states. The Dictionary provides a full and vibrant history from the outbreak of revolution in 1789 to the Terror, the Revolutionary state, its wars and the rise of Napoleon. Entries contain much more than just bare factual information: they provide a detailed commentary and include suggestions for further reading - both in print and online - which reference the extensive literature of over 200 years of scholarship and the latest historiography. Cross-referencing is extensive and the index provides reference to minor but important subjects contained in main entries.

Staging the French Revolution: Cultural Politics and the Paris Opera, 1789-1794 by Mark Darlow

Release Date: February 27, 2012

Over the last decade, the theatre and opera of the French Revolution have been the subject of intense scholarly reassessment, both in terms of the relationship between theatrical works and politics or ideology in this period and on the question of longer-scale structures of continuity or rupture in aesthetics. Staging the French Revolution: Cultural Politics and the Paris Opera, 1789-1794 moves these discussions boldly forward, focusing on the Paris Opéra (Académie Royale de Musique) in the cultural and political context of the early French Revolution. Both institutional history and cultural study, this is the first ever full-scale study of the Revolution and lyric theatre. The book concentrates on three aspects of how a royally-protected theatre negotiates the transition to national theatre: the external dimension, such as questions of ownership and governance and the institution's relationship with State institutions and popular assemblies; the internal management, finances, selection and preparation of works; and the cultural and aesthetic study of the works themselves and of their reception.


  1. I will read those books soon :)

  2. Cathy: That's great! :)

    I'm hoping to at least read "Time and the French Revolution: The Republican Calendar, 1789-Year XIV" this year, if I can clear through the books I'm currently reading!