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The Candle and the Guillotine
Revolution and Justice in Lyon, 1789–93
Julie Patricia Johnson
240 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-676-0 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (May 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-677-7 eBook
“One of the most tragic episodes of the French Revolution was the violent civil war in the city of Lyon in 1793 and the sweeping repression subsequently imposed by Jacobin revolutionaries. The loss of life scarred the city for generations. By focusing on a key rebel, the judge Jean-Jacques Ampère, Julie Johnson captures expertly how rival conceptions of politics and justice increasingly and fatally divided radical and moderate revolutionaries.” • Peter McPhee, University of Melbourne
“Johnson deftly navigates the relevant secondary literature on the Revolution in Lyon, commenting judiciously on past controversies, weighing in where appropriate, and pointing to deficiencies or lacunae in what has been written in the past. Her research is sound, the writing is clear and engaging, and the book makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the French Revolution.” • Paul R. Hanson, Butler University
“The Candle and the Guillotine is an absorbing study of the political dynamics between rival radical groups in Lyon during the Revolution. It is particularly effective at creating a vivid sense of the experience of revolution and the powerful emotions it engendered.” • Marisa Linton, Kingston University
As in a number of France’s major cities, civil war erupted in Lyon in the summer of 1793, ultimately leading to a siege of the city and a wave of mass executions. Using Lyon as a lens for understanding the politics of revolutionary France, this book reveals the widespread enthusiasm for judicial change in Lyon at the time of the Revolution, as well as the conflicts that ensued between elected magistrates in the face of radical democratization. Julie Patricia Johnson’s investigation of these developments during the bloodiest years of the Revolution offers powerful insights into the passions and the struggles of ordinary people during an extraordinary time.
Julie Patricia Johnson is an associate researcher at the University of Melbourne. She has presented her research at international conferences and has published work in journals such as French History and Lilith: A Feminist History Journal.