David Womersley

David Womersley is Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature and a fellow of St. Catherine's College, Oxford.

Rehashed Revolution

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The French Revolution is a historical episode of apparently endless and enduring fascination. Much more so than the American Revolution, which displayed stronger continuities with the society and regime it supplanted, the French Revolution continues to engross our curiosity because of the dramatic reversals to which it gave rise. The Revolution shows us the birth of modernity, and the transformation in a few years of an apparently unshakeable monarchy, hedged about by tradition, custom, and divine sanctions, into a republic. It was the seed-bed of influential if not always well-conceived political and social theories, and its interpretation by generations of…

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