How did the French try to understand their revolution? How have writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries portrayed so unprecedented an upheaval?Dr. Parker examines contemporary representations of the Revolutionpolitical rhetoric, journals, theatre, festivals, pictures and printsconcentrating on two special themes. First, the creators of these representations were part of an attempt to found anew the social order. Second, they sought to adapt their forms of culture so as to constitute through them the united community that was to be the agent of this historic new order.The second half of the book considers a representative selection of the many histories and theoretical writings on the Revolution from France, England and Germany: from Barnave and de Stael; to the nineteenth-century founders of social science and romantic historians, such as Michelet; to post-war comparative political writers and post-structuralist marxists influenced by Gramsci and Foucault.By bringing together an analysis of contemporary cultural responses to the Revolution and an account of subsequent cultures understanding of it, the author reveals the complex interplay between culture and agents of historical change, which modern views have often failed to realize."