This is a study of the guillotine and its role in the French Revolution, concentrating as much upon the social and psychological contexts - the "mythology" and theatre of the guillotine - as upon the history and transformations of the guillotine's invention. The book offers a thesis which argues, for example, that the guillotine acts as an enlightenment machine, as the begetter of a new physiology of the headless body politic, as an aristocratic/democratic art of dying, and as the source of a new kind of criminological portraiture.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
This rather curious book is more an evocation of an era than a revelation of new information. Arasse culls numerous first-hand accounts of the French Revolution to find out how contemporaries viewed the guillotine. Dr. Guillotin proposed that this machine should become a more humane form of executing criminals, but even before the Reign of Terror commenced the guillotine came to be associated with savagery. Arasse shows how every aspect of the ordeal (the procession, the scaffold, the final words of the accused, the actions of the executioner, as well as the guillotine's changing location) reveal important political and emotional details. By studying the public symbolism associated with the guillotine, this book helps the reader to gain an intimate appreciation of the drama of the Revolution. It should appeal to general readers as well as scholars.
- Thomas J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110140108300
Book Description Penguin Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0140108300 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0059654
Book Description Penguin Books, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140108300