Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution: London's French Libellistes, 1758-92

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9780719065279: Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution: London's French Libellistes, 1758-92
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In *Blackmail, scandal, and revolution*, Simon Burrows examines the activities, adventures, publications, and influence of the most venomous critics of the Bourbon monarchy - French exile libellistes who flocked to London to publish scandalous or sexually salacious pamphlets hoping to extort lavish suppression fees. Smut-mongering pamphleteers are prominent figures in the recent historiography of the French revolution. Many historians now contend that nihilistic, 'Grub Street' authors sapped the foundations of the monarchy with their 'desacralising' and frequently pornographic attacks on French monarchs and their consorts, above all Marie-Antoinette. Such arguments, it has been suggested, amount to a veritable 'pornographic interpretation' of the French revolution. Simon Burrows offers a comprehensive refutation of this interpretation and recontextualises 'Grub Street' pamphleteers within the political life of the ancien régime. In the course of his dissection of the libellistes' life histories, social networks, business activities, literary output, political affiliations, and blackmail negotiations, he demonstrates that political pornographic attacks on living monarchs or their consorts were almost unobtainable prior to 1789. He concludes that the libellistes' primary importance lies in their contribution to factional politics and in the public disquiet aroused by desperate and heavy-handed attempts to kidnap or silence them. With its revisionist interpretation of the pre-revolutionary public sphere, Blackmail, scandal, and revolution is essential reading for students of eighteenth-century political culture and the French revolution. However, its colourful and lively cast of perfidious spies, cynical ministers, royal mistresses, a tragic queen, conniving diplomats, and criminal rogues will also appeal to a wider audience.

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"This is one of the most important books to be published on the origins of the French Revolution for a generation." --William Doyle, University of Bristol

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Simon Burrows is Professor of Modern European History at Leeds University -- .

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Book Description Manchester University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 272 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 0.7in.This important study, newly available in paperback, examines the activities, adventures, publications, and influence of the most venomous critics of the late Bourbon monarchy. These were the French exile libellistes who flocked to London to publish scandalous or sexually salacious pamphlets in the hope of extorting lavish suppression fees. These smut-mongering pamphleteers have become prominent figures in the recent historiography of the French revolution, with many historians contending that their desacralizing and frequently pornographic publications sapped the foundations of the monarchy. Simon Burrows here offers a comprehensive refutation of this interpretation and re-contextualizes Grub Street pamphleteers within the political life of the ancien rgime. In the course of his dissection of the libellistes life histories, social networks, business activities, literary output, political affiliations and blackmail negotiations, he demonstrates that their attacks on living monarchs and their consorts (most notably Marie Antoinette) were in fact almost unobtainable prior to 1789. He concludes that the libellistes primary importance lies in their contribution to factional politics and in the public disquiet aroused by desperate and heavy-handed attempts to kidnap or silence them. This revealing book is essential reading for students of eighteenth-century political culture and the French revolution. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780719065279

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