History B 356
The best of times, the worst of times (slides)

How to study the French Revolution

Background Reading
If you have no background in eighteenth-century European history, you should probably at least skim one of the following:

Jeremy Black, Eighteenth-century Europe (1999).
Alfred Cobban, A History of Modern France, vol. 1 (1961).
William Doyle, The Old European Order, 1660-1800 (1978).
Colin Jones, The Great Nation (2002).
John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe (1996), chaps. 9-11.
Isser Woloch, Eighteenth-Century Europe: Tradition and Progress (1982).

Discussion: Reading and Writing the Revolution

Make sure you have looked at the History Department's study guidelines and the College's description of plagiarism (linked from the Greuze images to the right). On the History Department's site, please pay special attention to "Avoiding Plagiarism," "Historiography," and "How to Read a Source."

Further Reading
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)—the classic "conservative" response to the Revolution. As you read this, remember that Burke in 1776 had been an enthusiastic supporter of the American revolution. Why did he view the two revolutions so differently? The full text is available on-line, as are some short excerpts.

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)—available on-line or as an inexpensive paperback. Presents a caricatured but, for many readers, compelling, account of life during the Revolution.

Georges Lefebvre, 1789 also translated as The Coming of the French Revolution (1939)—long the standard "Jacobino-Marxist" history of the Revolution. Its account of a four-phase Revolution, in which different social groups take the lead in turn, is often termed "social history" but the book gives a prominent place to political conflict as well.

Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink and Rolf Reichardt, The Bastille: the History of a Symbol of Despotism and Freedom (1997).

Jules Michelet, History of the French Revolution (1847; revised many times), preface on-line.

Leon Trotsky, The Permanent Revolution, extract on-line (in which he compares Jacobinism and Bolshevism).

History Dept research & writing help
Jean-Baptiste Greuze, "A Student Learning his Lesson" (1757)

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, "A Child who Sleeps on his Book" (1755)

Bastille images (gallica)
Many images of the Bastille from Gallica
(the French national digital library)