John Hardman


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Yale University Press
23 May 2023
ISBN: 9780300270846
416 pages

From the publisher

A major new biography of Antoine Barnave-the politician and writer who advocated for a constitutional monarchy in revolutionary France

Antoine Barnave was one of the most influential statesmen in the early French Revolution. He was a didactic man of austere morals and vaulting ambition who dressed as an English dandy, running up considerable tailor's bills. Before his execution at age thirty-two, he played a decisive role in revolutionary politics and even governed France in 1791 through a secret correspondence with Marie-Antoinette.

In the first biography for more than a century, John Hardman traces Barnave's life from his youth in Dauphine to his role in the Constituent Assembly and his part in forming the Feuillants, the party dedicated to the moderate cause. Despite his early death, Barnave left a remarkable volume of material, from published works to thousands of manuscript pages. Hardman uses this rich archive to explore the life of this elusive writer, politician, and thinker-and sheds new light on the revolutionary period.