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The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution

The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution

2nd Edition


Part of The Wiles Lectures

  • Date Published: May 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521667678

£ 23.99

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About the Authors
  • Alfred Cobban's The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution is one of the acknowledged classics of post-war historiography. This 'revisionist' analysis of the French Revolution caused a furore on first publication in 1964, challenging as it did established orthodoxies during the crucial period of the Cold War. Cobban saw the French Revolution as central to the 'grand narrative of modern history', but provided a salutary corrective to many celebrated social explanations, determinist and otherwise, of its origins and development. A generation later this concise but powerful intervention was reissued in this 1999 edition with an introduction by Gwynne Lewis, providing students with both a context for Cobban's own arguments, and assessing the course of Revolutionary studies in the wake of The Social Interpretation. This book remains a handbook of revisionism for Anglo-Saxon scholars, and is essential reading for all students of French history at undergraduate level and above.

    • A French history classic (30,000 copies sold in English of the first edition)
    • Introduction by the leading contemporary historian of the Revolutionary period
    • Still one of the most important short analyses available of one of the greatest events in human history
    • Written by a leading French historian; author of A History of Modern France (Penguin), which is still a bestseller
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a provocative, lively, and well-written book, and its call for a truly modern sociology of the Revolution can only meet with general approval.' Review of Politics

    'This book will be both stimulating and challenging to all those who have so far accepted the orthodox 'bourgeois versus aristocrat' theory.' The Times Educational Supplement

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: May 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521667678
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 213 x 140 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.29kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Gwynne Lewis
    1. The present state of history
    2. History and sociology
    3. The problem of social history
    4. The meaning of feudalism
    5. The attack on seigneurial rights
    6. Who were the revolutionary bourgeois?
    7. Economic consequences of the Revolution
    8. A bourgeoisie of landowners
    9. Country against town
    10. Social cleavages among the peasantry
    11. The sans-culottes
    12. A revolution of the propertied classes
    13. Poor against rich
    14. Conclusion

  • Author

    Alfred Cobban

    Introduction by

    Gwynne Lewis

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