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Cobban’s Vindication

Olwen Hufton, 20 August 1981

Origins of the French Revolution 
by William Doyle.
Oxford, 247 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 19 873020 9
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... Few historians have had their judgments as little challenged as Alexis de Tocqueville. When he pronounced that the French Revolution had its origins in the very society which it was destined to destroy, he articulated a view which, for different reasons, would be acceptable to historians of every persuasion for the next century and a half. Writers of both Right and Left found common ground in asserting that the Revolution of 1789 had specific social origins which produced the political upheaval that left France socially, economically, institutionally and politically altered, never to be the same again ...

Rescued by Marat

Hilary Mantel, 28 May 1992

Théroigne de Méricourt: A Melancholic Woman during the French Revolution 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Martin Thom.
Verso, 284 pp., £34.95, July 1991, 0 86091 324 4
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Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution 
by Olwen Hufton.
Toronto, 201 pp., £23, May 1992, 0 8020 6837 5
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... the nascent political power of women, but she tends to make simple ideas sound very complicated; Olwen Hufton, in her study of women and citizenship, is a model of clarity. Hufton has produced a vigorous, well-argued, level-headed book, written with a nicely sardonic wit. She handles theoretical issues with ...


J.M. Roberts, 22 January 1981

Europe: Privilege and Protest 1730-1789 
by Olwen Hufton.
Fontana, 398 pp., £2.50, May 1980, 0 00 636109 9
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... is thought to begin – in 1700, or with the death of Louis XIV in 1714, or in 1730 as Professor Hufton has had to accept for her new book – we always seem to finish up at the Tennis Court or the Bastille. There is overwhelming pressure to see the century as an age before the deluge, everything in it being placed and scrutinised in the light of the great ...

The Monte Lupo Story

Simon Schama, 18 September 1980

Faith, Reason and the Plague 
by Carlo Cipolla.
Harvester, 112 pp., £7.50, November 1980, 0 85527 506 5
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... and ostensibly ephemeral sources, ingenious and gifted historians such as Richard Cobb, Olwen Hufton and E.P. Thompson have produced masterpieces of historical reconstruction in which the lives of the obscure and the downtrodden are given the front of the stage. There was, and is, a serious purpose in viewing élite culture and its politics ...

The National Razor

Hilary Mantel: Aux Armes, Citoyennes, 16 July 1998

The Women of Paris and Their French Revolution 
by Dominique Godineau, translated by Katherine Sharp.
California, 415 pp., £45, January 1998, 0 520 06718 5
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... What does it mean to be a ‘female citizen’? Is ‘female’ a word that qualifies and limits? Olwen Hufton has explored the issue very intelligently in Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution, and from her work and Godineau’s we learn that we must be wary of grafting a feminist agenda onto demands for equality. The ...

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