Cover image for The making of revolutionary Paris
The making of revolutionary Paris
Garrioch, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley : University of California Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiv, 382 pages ; illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1360 Lexile.
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DC729 .G33 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The sights, sounds, and smells of life on the streets and in the houses of eighteenth-century Paris rise from the pages of this marvelously anecdotal chronicle of a perpetually alluring city during one hundred years of extraordinary social and cultural change. An excellent general history as well as an innovative synthesis of new research, The Making of Revolutionary Paris combines vivid portraits of individual lives, accounts of social trends, and analyses of significant events as it explores the evolution of Parisian society during the eighteenth century and reveals the city's pivotal role in shaping the French Revolution.

David Garrioch rewrites the origins of the Parisian Revolution as the story of an urban metamorphosis stimulated by factors such as the spread of the Enlightenment, the growth of consumerism, and new ideas about urban space. With an eye on the broad social trends emerging during the century, he focuses his narrative on such humble but fascinating aspects of daily life as traffic congestion, a controversy over the renumbering of houses, and the ever-present dilemma of where to bury the dead. He describes changes in family life and women's social status, in religion, in the literary imagination, and in politics.

Paris played a significant role in sparking the French Revolution, and in turn, the Revolution changed the city, not only its political structures but also its social organization, gender ideologies, and cultural practices. This book is the first to look comprehensively at the effect of the Revolution on city life. Based on the author's own research in Paris and on the most current scholarship, this absorbing book takes French history in new directions, providing a new understanding of the Parisian and the European past.

Author Notes

David Garrioch is Associate Professor of History at Monash University, Australia, and author of The Formation of the Parisian Bourgeoisie, 1690-1830 (1996) and Neighborhood and Community in Paris, 1740-1790 (1986).

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Garrioch (Monash Univ., Melbourne) is that rare scholar who combines thorough research with a lively writing style. He wrote this book with the general reader in mind, and he skillfully uses primary sources to enliven his account of Paris on the cusp of cataclysmic change. In the process, he reveals the tectonic shifts of the social, economic, political, and religious layers of Parisian society that ultimately led to the French Revolution. The author argues that at the beginning of the 1700s Paris was a city of neighborhoods in which inhabitants were connected by work, worship, and everyday activities. The overarching authority of the monarchy sustained order, and the corporal power of the church provided moral certitude. But by the 1750s, the rhythms of urban life began to change: geographic and social mobility challenged the strictures of an authoritarian society, an emerging professional-merchant class challenged hierarchical modes of control, and the free flow of ideas led to a questioning of the legitimacy of religious and governing institutions. According to Garrioch, these dynamics of urban change propelled Paris into the age of modernity and ultimately changed the face of Europe forever. This lucid study expands on themes found in Garrioch's earlier works (e.g., Formation of the Parisian Bourgeoisie) and also in Daniel Roche's monumental People of Paris (1987). The present volume is a solid introduction to the epicenter of the Revolutionary Age and an essential selection for every French history collection. Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Revolutionary Paris, with its energy and violence, its lack of deference and egalitarianism, was vastly different from the traditional Paris of 1700--corporate in structure, customary in habit, and hierarchical in assumption. In this highly readable book, Garrioch (Monash Univ.) sets out to explain how this transformation took place. The answer, he suggests, lies in changes in daily life. Drawing on examples culled from numerous Parisian archives and an impressive quantity of secondary research, Garrioch provides a sophisticated and comprehensive account of Parisian economic, political, social, religious, and cultural conditions. He describes the economic expansion and growing consumer market amid the paradox of increasing poverty, the estrangement of administrative despotism from popular support, the increasing social distance of the elite, and the corrosive effects of Jansenism, not only on politics, but also in its contribution to growing secularization. Garrioch traces the emergence of public opinion accompanying the increasing literacy, communication, and mobility of the century. His is a balanced description of all social classes and the roles of both men and women, enlivened with striking illustration. Designed for educated readers, this fine synthesis of Parisian life should be in every large library, public or academic. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All collections and levels. D. C. Baxter Ohio University