A Comparison of Five Historical Novels of the French Revolution
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What is it that drives a writer to the French Revolut1on? Is it the excitement, the novelty, the horror of it that he feels compelled to capture? Or do the liv1ng personages themselves fascinate him and force him to describe them: a Marat, a Danton, a Robespierre, a Jean Chouan, a mob storming the Bast111e, its Hugolian counter- part, la Torque, la Veuve? Does the author strive to justify the Revolution? Or is he more interested in the influence it has wrought on his characters? Do the events of the Revolution play a vital part in the development of the . work, or do they only prov1de the setting, the backdrop, for the other act1on? These questions and thoughts provide a starting point for the analysis of these fictional works. I. have chosen to examine five novels by five fairly well-known authors. I chose these because of their diversity in the eras in wh1ch they wrote as well as 1n their op1n1ons and personalities.