ISBN: 006082526X / ISBN-13: 9780060825263
Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France
by Lucy Moore
The bestselling author of "Maharanis" recreates the lives of six remarkable women who, in a time of violent revolution, leapt at the chance to ... Show synopsis The bestselling author of "Maharanis" recreates the lives of six remarkable women who, in a time of violent revolution, leapt at the chance to exercise their considerable charm, intelligence and acumen to make their mark on history. At the heart of Paris's intellectual movement, Germaine de Stael was a figure like no other. Passionate, fiercely intelligent and equally obsessed by love affairs as she was by politics, she helped write the 1791 Constitution at the salon in which she entertained the thinkers of the age. Her fellow salonniere, Mme Roland, was a bourgeois housewife who became a fervent and influential revolutionary, until Robespierre sent her, still defiant, to the guillotine. At the other end of the social scale, her working class counterparts patrolled the streets of Paris with pistols in their belts. Theroigne de Mericourt was an ill-treated mistress when she fell in love with revolutionary ideals. Denied a political role because of her sex, she nevertheless campaigned tirelessly until a mob beating left her broken in both mind and body. The mob in question was made up of members of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, whose founder, Pauline Leon, agitated for women's rights and sought to push the Revolution to ever greater extremes. The glamorous merveilleuses, whose glamour, beauty, and propensity for revealing outfits propelled them to the top of post-revolutionary society. Exuberant, decadent Theresia Tallien reportedly helped engineer Robespierre's downfall - in so doing, she and her fellow 'sans chemises' ushered in a new world that combined sexual licence with the amorality of the new Republic. Her only rival was Juliette Recamier, whose elegance made her salons the most sought-after in Paris. Writing with vigour and sympathy, Lucy Moore reanimates the lives of six remarkable women from these very different segments of French Society. Through their lives, loves and failures, the wider history of the Revolution receives a compassionate retelling that illuminates, not only the brief, hopeful period in which equality seemed within reach, but also the ways in which it failed.