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The Family Romance of the French Revolution

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  9 reviews
This latest work from an author known for her contributions to the new cultural history is a multidisciplinary investigation of the foundations of modern politics. "Family Romance" was coined by Freud to describe the fantasy of being freed from one's family & joining one of higher social standing. Lynn Hunt uses the term broadly to describe the images of the familial o ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published February 24th 1993 by University of California Press (Berkeley/LA) (first published 1992)
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A clever psychological account of the French Revolution. Hunt argues that the monarchy was tied to family order in the 18th-century French collective unconscious. The king represented the national "father"; the people were his children.

As the century wore on, anxiety about the role of the king in French political life arose simultaneously with concern over paternal tyranny in literal families. At first, this led to the the father/king's being depicted in French art and literature as a "good fat
Ali Olomi
Lynn Hunt's book is a perfect example of the cultural history that was one the rise during the 80's and 90's. In this book, she analyzes the French Revolution through the lens of culture with special attention to the production of literature, art, and its depictions and ideas around the role of kingship.

She explores what can be called a collective cultural consciousness that shifts in its way of viewing the king. She links the political discourse about the king with the cultural discourse on th
I did not really like this one. Absolutely too many leaps....even for a theoretical work. The chapter on Sade is so incoherent I am not sure she even knows what she is talking about. That being said, she stays on task up to that point. If you like theoretical, metaphorical history with not so random 18th century porn throughout.....then here you go.
Hannah Givens
Fascinating study of how literature, art, and commentary during the French Revolution reveal attitudes toward the family at that time. You can only do so much with psychoanalyzing history, and it's difficult to make strong causal links, but the descriptive parts were illuminating. I also appreciated the gender history, where Hunt doesn't just describe particular women, but actually addresses the whole gender system of the time period and how the historical actors perceived it.
The first four chapters were pretty interesting. The last two chapters didn't hold my interest at all, and didn't seem really relevant to the first part of the book. I also don't totally buy the author's main argument, but a decent case was made for it in the first four chapters.
Interesting points of how family structure can be applied to a political realm and how the if the family is broken, society is broken, but overall, it seems she stretches Frued's idea and it just seemed a little much.
this book changed my whole view on the french revolution and french feminism, exploding it out into another universe of consciousness.
Best addition to French Revolution historiography since the 60s.
As part of my Politics of Poetry course
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Lynn Avery Hunt is the Eugen Weber Professor of Modern European History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her area of expertise is the French Revolution, but she is also well known for her work in European cultural history on such topics as gender. Her 2007 work, Inventing Human Rights, has been heralded as the most comprehensive analysis of the history of human rights. She served as p ...more
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