Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith by James H Billington

By James H Billington

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This booklet lines the origins of a faith--perhaps the religion of the century. glossy revolutionaries are believers, no much less devoted and severe than have been Christians or Muslims of an previous period. what's new is the assumption excellent secular order will emerge from forcible overthrow of conventional authority. This inherently improbable notion energized Europe within the 19th century, and have become the main reported ideological export of the West to the remainder of the realm within the 20th century. Billington is drawn to revolutionaries--the leading edge creators of a brand new culture. His ancient body extends from the waning of the French Revolution within the past due eighteenth century to the beginnings of the Russian Revolution within the early 20th century. The theater used to be Europe of the economic period; the most degree used to be the journalistic workplaces inside of nice towns comparable to Paris, Berlin, London, and St. Petersburg. Billington claims with enormous facts that innovative ideologies have been formed as a lot via the occultism and proto-romanticism of Germany because the severe rationalism of the French Enlightenment. The conversion of social thought to political perform was once primarily the paintings of 3 Russian revolutions: in 1905, March 1917, and November 1917. occasions within the outer rim of the eu international introduced discussions approximately revolution out of the classrooms and press rooms of Paris and Berlin into the halls of power.

Despite his difficult realism concerning the hostile useful outcomes of innovative dogma, Billington appreciates the identification of its most sensible sponsors, those who preached social justice transcending conventional nationwide, ethnic, and gender limitations. while this e-book initially seemed The New Republic hailed it as "remarkable, discovered and lively," whereas The New Yorker famous that Billington "pays nice consciousness to the lives and feelings of people and this makes his publication absorbing." it truly is a useful paintings of heritage and contribution to our realizing of political life.

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The gardens were the gathering place for prostitutes, and respectable women did not appear in the Palais-Royal after I I : oo A . 24 Even before the revolution , the Palais-Royal had generated a counter-morality of its own. 25 The prome­ nade of boutiques and galleries in the center of the Palais where con­ tacts and assignations were usually made ( the so-called Gall erie de Bois or Camp des Tartares ) had as its central sculpture "la belle Zulima," 2 n a wax statue of a naked woman done in realistic flesh color.

The seizure of the forbidden word, that which the established order proscribes because it destroys its legitimacy. 55 Hebert cut through these layers with a vulgarity that fed the rage of the Parisian populace when food supplies ran low late in the winter of 1 793-94. In demanding social controls and economic redistribution, the journalist exceeded the limits that politicians could tolerate. Martyred by Robespierre, Hebert was rediscovered in the 1 840s as a for­ gotten hero of the revolution and a fresh model for militant revolu­ tionary journalists frustrated by bourgeois culture and anxious for social rather than political change.

3 Revolutionary violence has been best described metaphorically as a volcanic eruption or the birth pain of a new order. Because revolutionaries always believe their violence will end all violence, it might also be described as the sonic boom at which controls must be reversed, the vortex of a whirlpool in which a helplessly descending object m ay suddenly be hurled up to freedom. The mark of blood distinguishes real revolution from mythic melo­ drama about the storming of a Bastille or a Winter Palace.

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