Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France (Hardcover)
"Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights," declared Olympe de Gouges in 1791. Throughout the French Revolution, women, inspired by a longing for liberty and equality, played a vital role in stoking the fervor and idealism of those years. In her compelling history of the Revolution, Lucy Moore paints a vivid portrait of six extraordinary women who risked everything for the chance to exercise their ambition and make their mark on history.
At the heart of Paris's intellectual movement, Germaine de Stael was a figure like no other. Passionate, fiercely intelligent and as consumed by love affairs as she was by politics, she helped write the 1791 Constitution at the salon in which she entertained the great thinkers of the age. At the other end of the social scale, her working-class counterparts patrolled the streets of Paris with pistols in their belts. Theroigne de Mericourt was an unhappy courtesan when she fell in love with revolutionary ideals. Denied a political role because of her sex, she nevertheless campaigned tirelessly until a mob beating left her broken in both mind and body. Later came the glittering merveilleuses, whose glamour, beauty and propensity for revealing outfits propelled them to the top of post-revolutionary society. Exuberant, decadent Theresia Tallien reportedly helped engineer Robespierre's downfall. In so doing, she and her fellow "sans-chemises" ushered in a new world that combined sexual license with the amorality of the new Republic.
“A lively new work by a talented young English historian.”
-Judith Warner, New York Times Book Review
“A fresh history . . . riveting and revelatory.
-Booklist (starred review)
“Fascinating… an absorbing portrait…She successfully contextualizes each of her subjects within a cultural framework-no small feat.”
“Engrossing and highly readable . . . Moore makes this much more than a collective biography . . . fascinating.”