The Body and the French Revolution Sex, Class and Political Culture
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This book, first published in 1989, is an analysis of what changed in 1789 with the French Revolution and what contemporary life owes to the event. It was not simply a series of events with worldwide repercussions, but also represented the foundation of the middle-class domination of social, cultural and political space, which survives today and is the site of major crises of public culture. One such site is the body. In spite of its prominence in consumer culture as an object of adornment and beautification, the human body retains none of its historic dignity and authority. The argument of this book is that the French Revolution played a crucial part in this diminution of the body. It traces revolutionary models of behaviour around the body and public life, and explains how such myths as the division between public and private, male and female worlds, and such masculine values as ‘objectivity’ were an integral part of the new public world created by the revolutionary middle class.
1. The Problem of the Body in Political Culture 2. Modern Histories of the Body 3. Deconstructing the French Revolution 4. The Eighteenth-Century Medical Revolution: Bodies, Souls and the Social Classes 5. A New Public Body: Stoicism, Suffering and the Middle Class in the French Revolution 6. Heroic Suicide: The End of the Body and the Beginning of History 7. The Guillotine, the Soul and the Audience for Death 8. Words and Flesh: Mme Roland, the Female Body and the Search for Power 9. The French Revolution, Modernity and the Body Politic
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