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A Natural History of Revolution – Violence and Nature in the French Revolutionary Imagination, 1789-1794 - Cornell Scholarship Online
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A Natural History of Revolution: Violence and Nature in the French Revolutionary Imagination, 1789-1794

Mary Ashburn Miller


How did the French Revolutionaries explain, justify, and understand the extraordinary violence of their revolution? In debating this question, historians have looked to a variety of eighteenth-century sources. This book suggests that it is perhaps in the study of the natural world that we might find the best clues for understanding the French Revolution. In their attempts to portray and explain the events of the Revolution, political figures, playwrights, and journalists often turned to nature: phenomena such as hailstorms and thunderbolts found their way into festivals, plays, and political s ... More

Keywords: French Revolution, natural world, natural imagery, revolutionary transformation, violence, revolutionary France, earthquakes, thunder, equilibrium, regeneration

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780801449420
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449420.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Ashburn Miller, author
Reed College