The Family Romance of the French Revolution Critique
Throughout much of history, the transition between governments has proven to be chaotic. Whether this be recent Arabic transition of authoritarian states to Democracies, or old absolute monarchies to Republics they all seem to temporarily go through an era of confusion, violence and inquiry of the future. In Chapter one of "The Family Romance of the French Revolution" by Lynn Hunt the French Revolution was no exception. It brought about a new social order in which obedience of the people was in question. Hunt's argument involves the evolution of French Politics and how this revolutionary society intertwined with the arguments of English critic Burke, and the psychoanalysis of Freud and literary critic Rene Girard.
Up until 1789, France had been ruled by series of absolute monarchies in which the King had been the head of the social order. This social order as the Hunt analyzes was broken with the death of King Louis XVI. Using imagery as it starts out in the opening sentence Hunt describes the setting of his death in a "cold and foggy morning in the winter ", "The recently installed guillotine had been designed as the great equalizer; with it every death would be the same, virtually automatic, presumably painless." This imagery here and in the following sentences gives the reader the sensation that these revolutionaries were emotionally disconnected from the royal family. The death of the king as Hunt explains in the starting paragraph, is just another man being taken up for death, except this death has much symbolic significance for which the future of France depends on. Essentially Hunt is asking that if the people were able to kill the king, who is supposed to be the ruler and law, what is to say any rule impose by a new government would be obeyed? The symbolism is the social order being broken, meaning that there was no model for citizens to obey out of deference anymore....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document