the Bastille - The French Revolution
Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution is a landmark of literary history. Conceived not as a dry recounting of facts, but as a personal, vivid, direct and dramatic encounter with the turbulent times of revolutionary France, it is in fact an extended dramatic monologue in which we meet not only the striking personalities and events of the time, but the equally striking personality and mind of Thomas Carlyle himself.
In this, the first volume of the series, we live out the course of the French Revolution, from the death of Louis XV to the triumphal celebrations of early days of the National Assembly.
Thomas Carlyle's writing is a true challenge to the reader and the listener. He does not write in the calm, objective, matter-of-fact style of a modern historian; quite the contrary! He writes as if he were there, a witness to history, passionately involved with the events that he makes unfold before our eyes. He gives his rare mastery of the outer reaches of the English language full scope, challenging us to grasp not only his complex thoughts, but his intricate manner of expressing them.
Grappling with his mind and with the events of the Revolution at the same time is a powerful challenge for any reader or listener.