She and her fellow “sans-chemises” ushered in a new world that combined sexual license with the amorality of the new Republic.


La Liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading The People) by Eugène Delacroix

Liberty : the lives and times of six women  in revolutionary France    New York :  HarperCollins, 2007  Lucy Moore France  History Revolution, 1789-1799 Women Hardcover. 1st.  American ed. and printing. xiii, 464 p. : ill.  (some col. ), maps ; 24 cm. Includes  bibliographical references (p. [417]-424) and  index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean  dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or  marginalia in text. VG/VG

“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 Staël 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.

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