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Published on Apr 26, 2016
Conspiracy and Terror in the French Revolution - A public lecture by Marisa Linton (Kingston University)
Conspiracies, both real and imagined, played a central role in the shifting dynamics of French revolutionary politics. This talk will look at how fear of conspiracy influenced decisions taken by revolutionary leaders during the most traumatic period of the Revolution - the Terror of the Year II (1793-94). Successive revolutionary factions were subject to a specific form of terror, the ‘politicians’ terror’, whereby they themselves were denounced as ‘the enemy within’ and put to death. This talk will examine the ideological, tactical and emotional factors that led some of the Revolution’s most prominent leaders, including Brissot, Danton, and Robespierre, to be condemned as secret conspirators against it.
Marisa Linton is currently Reader in History at Kingston University. She has written extensively on the political culture of the French Revolution and the French Enlightenment. She is the author of Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2013), a study of the political leaders of the French Revolution and the process whereby they came to ‘choose terror’. She is also the author of The Politics of Virtue in Enlightenment France (Palgrave, 2001), which examines how the Enlightenment concept of political virtue became an integral part of the language of revolutionary politics. She is the co-editor of Conspiracy in the French Revolution (Manchester University Press, 2007). Her other publications have addressed such subjects as: Robespierre’s political ideology; the concept of the political hero in French revolutionary politics; the intellectual origins of the French Revolution; and religious toleration in eighteenth-century France. She frequently writes for popular publications, such as History Today and BBC History, and has made several television and radio appearances. She is currently working on a further book for Oxford University Press, a study of four Jacobin leaders, Robespierre, Danton, Desmoulins and Saint-Just, to be entitled Saturn’s Children: Leaders of the French Revolution.