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French Revolution book

I'm wondering if anyone knows of any other fictionalizations of the French Revolution other than Tanith Lee's "The Gods Are Thirsty" - in which the main character Camille Desmoulins goes around in a drunken haze for the entirety of the book and in which every historical figure is hugely out of character - and Hilary Mantel's "A Place of Greater Safety" - which is a little too soap-opera-y and a little too little based on facts. It can be something somewhat like Victor Hugo's "93," though there can really be only one view that's that unique. Basically I'm looking for fictionalized history, which is pro-Revolutionary, and preferably not completely anti-Robespierriste or anti-Maratiste. It can even be about a time of the Revolution, like "Danton's Death" (I think that's what it's called). Does such a book exist?

A similar question: does anyone know of any pro-Communarde stories set in the time of the Paris Commune of 1871?


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
I liked the Scarlet Pimpernel when I was younger (even named my rat Sir Percy) but it's pro aristocracy.
May. 25th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
You want a book about a Reign of Terror that is for it?
May. 26th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
I imagine she means the Revolution before it degenerated into the Reign of Terror, the ideals of the revolutionary spirit and opposition to and over throw of the Ancien Régime.

I'm actually surprised that there is so little of this period in historical fiction that springs to mind.
May. 28th, 2010 09:56 am (UTC)
No, I want something like Mantel's "A Place of Greater Safety" - except less soap-opera-y - or Victor Hugo's "93." Something that has the highly nuanced view that demonstrates the amount of research done, preferably with some fictionalizations of the debates in the Committee of Public Safety, because those must have been rather funny if they weren't dicussing such serious matters like bread and wars. Basically, I'm looking for fiction written by a historian. Preferably set during the Reign of Terror.
May. 25th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
As with the posts above, I can only really think of books from the anti-Revolution perspective. I also love the Scarlet Pimpernel--great fun! And I would additionally recommend Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series--if you want an adventure/romance series about not-necessarily-competent spies that follows from the Scarlet Pimpernel. Willig has a graduate degree from Harvard in English History, so the facts should be accurate, even though the action is pretty zany.
May. 26th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
What about "The Devil's Laughter" by Frank Yerby. Its very entertaining.
May. 26th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
Wonder if Marge Piercy's 'City of Darkness, City of Light' might fit the bill.

May. 26th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
Well, you might try the book from which Lee ganked the title of her novel--Anatole France's Les Dieux Ont Soif, but I'm not sure it will be pro-revolutionary enough for you. Penguin brought out a paperback edition around 1980 with the title The Gods Will Have Blood.

If you don't mind my suggesting it, Claude Manceron's 5-volume history of the French Revolution is at least as fun to read as a novel.
May. 31st, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for calling "The Gods Will Have Blood" to my attention. I'd seen it mentioned, but as "The Gods Are Athirst" (or something like that) which is no longer in print. The 1980 version seems to be and I'll try looking for it.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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