Berghahn Monographs in French Studies
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The Bourgeois Revolution in France 1789-1815
184 pages, 3 illus., 1 map, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-169-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2006)
ISBN 978-1-84545-650-4 $27.95/£22.95 Pb Published (March 2009)
eISBN 978-0-85745-569-7 eBook
“The book is well worth reading as a lively critique of the various revisionist attempts to deny the class character of the French Revolution, and a summary of (some of) the relevant evidence.” • Weekly Worker
“…the book provides a considerable contribution to the ongoing discussions about the character and significance of the French Revolution… a significant enrichment and reinvigoration of the traditional Marxist explanation of the French Revolution and a fine synthesis of the many contributions to criticism of revisionist theses from especially the last two decades. Possibly this book may even provide the starting point for more synthetic re-introductions of socio-economic explanations within the historiography of the Revolution.” • H-Soz-und-Kult
In the last generation the classic Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution has been challenged by the so-called revisionist school. The Marxist view that the Revolution was a bourgeois and capitalist revolution has been questioned by Anglo-Saxon revisionists like Alfred Cobban and William Doyle as well as a French school of criticism headed by François Furet. Today revisionism is the dominant interpretation of the Revolution both in the academic world and among the educated public.
Against this conception, this book reasserts the view that the Revolution - the capital event of the modern age - was indeed a capitalist and bourgeois revolution. Based on an analysis of the latest historical scholarship as well as on knowledge of Marxist theories of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the work confutes the main arguments and contentions of the revisionist school while laying out a narrative of the causes and unfolding of the Revolution from the eighteenth century to the Napoleonic Age.
Henry Heller is Professor of Early Modern and Modern History at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. A specialist in early modern French history, he has a special interest in the origins of capitalism and in the problems of contemporary history and politics. His many publications include The Cold War and The New Imperialism: A Global History, 1945-2005 (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2006), Anti-Italianism in Sixteenth Century France (Toronto University Press, 2003), Labor, science and technology in France, 1500-1620 (Cambridge University Press, 1996), and The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism; The Ongoing Debate (Pluto Press, forthcoming).