Sudhir Hazareesingh

Vive La Republique

Children of the Revolution: The French 1799–1914

By

Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 560pp £25 order from our bookshop

During the long nineteenth century, the French learnt to ‘give time its just preponderance’, in the words of the positivist philosopher Emile Littré. This did not come easily or naturally. As the first part of Robert Gildea’s elegantly written book shows, the French struggled repeatedly to lay to rest the painful conflicts provoked by the 1789 Revolution. From 1799 onwards, when Napoleon Bonaparte captured power from a corrupt and decaying Republic, the country experimented with a variety of regimes, none of which managed to sustain enduring public support. After living through the rise and fall of the Napoleonic empire, two constitutional monarchies, and the short-lived and chaotic Republic of 1848, the liberal thinker Alexis de Tocqueville lamented: ‘I wonder whether the solid ground we have so long sought really exists, or whether our destiny is not rather to sail a storm-tossed sea forever.’

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,
    • 'Rodin’s fascination with ancient Greek sculpture is part of a long and distinguished French tradition.' A review o… ,
    • The New Testament, in a new translation by David Bentley Hart, reviewed by Salley Vickers ,