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An Eighteenth-Century Emblem in the French Revolution
Michael Sonenscher

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"As someone who has transformed himself during this period from a distinguished social historian to a leading expert on eighteenth century political thought, Sonenscher's professional career mirrors the trajectory scholarship of the Revolution has taken in his lifetime. . . . [T]he new book is the result of twenty-five years' patient advancing of what it is possible to know about the French Revolution and, at its heart, the elusive sans-culottes."--Ruth Scurr, Modern Intellectual History

"[T]he author succeeds in forcing the reader outside the comfort zone of more traditional approaches in an intellectual tour de force that no historian of the Revolution can safely ignore."--Hugh Gough, Historian

"Sonenscher's opera magna constitute an enormous achievement. Revealing a new face of eighteenth-century intellectual history and recovering a myriad of forgotten works, they are sure to be read--indeed to be used as references--for years to come."--Carolina Armenteros, French History


"With deftness, wit, and great erudition, Michael Sonenscher traces the complex and unexpected pre-Jacobin history of the phrase 'sans culottes' to its origins in the rivalries and concerns of the Parisian salons. This probing history brings to life the patronesses, philosophers, wits, and hacks of the ancien régime and illuminates the contending uses of ancient philosophy and visions of society and personal virtue that circulated among them. The analyses of competing Ciceronian and Cynical views of fashion, and of the gulfs between Rousseau and his self-designated acolytes, are particularly powerful. This book will be sure to transform irrevocably our understanding of the notorious emblem of Jacobinism."--Jennifer Pitts, author of A Turn to Empire

"With this book, Michael Sonenscher establishes himself as one of the most significant authors in the world today writing on the French Revolution. Focusing at the outset on the apparently unpromising question of how the revolutionary sans-culottes got their name, Sonenscher takes his readers on an extraordinary journey of discovery to the heart of the French Enlightenment and revolutionary politics. A brilliant tour de force, based on a dazzling command of eighteenth-century political and economic writing and razor-sharp analytical skills, this book will be required reading for any scholar or student interested in the origins and outcomes of the revolution."--Colin Jones, Queen Mary, University of London

"A pathbreaking account of the emergence of the concept of republican citizenship in the eighteenth century, Michael Sonenscher's Sans-Culottes is also one of the most ambitious, original, and satisfying accounts of the eighteenth-century resonance of Rousseau's arguments regarding human nature, culture, and politics that I have encountered."--E. J. Hundert, professor emeritus of history, University of British Columbia

"Drawing on a dazzling array of texts--from the most well known to the totally arcane--Michael Sonenscher reveals that the sans-culottes of revolutionary France were the cultural offspring of a deep and densely argued eighteenth-century philosophical divide. The story is utterly fascinating and will come as a surprise, especially to social historians. There are few scholars working today who can rival the breadth or depth of Sonenscher's command of eighteenth-century European intellectual culture."--Carla Hesse, University of California, Berkeley

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File created: 4/21/2017

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