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Lecturer and fellow at Gonville Caius College, University of Cambridge, Ruth Scurr is a historian, writer, and literary critic. The author of the award-winning Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution, she lives in Cambridge, England.

Includes the name: Ruth Scurr (foreword)

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London, England, UK
London, England, UK
Paris, France
Oxford University
St Bernard's Convent, Slough, England, UK
Cambridge University
Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France
literary critic
Dunn, John (husband, 1997-2013)
Cambridge University (Gonville and Caius College)
Priser og hædersbevisninger
Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2000)
Kort biografi
Ruth Scurr was born in 1971 in London. She studied at Oxford, Cambridge and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. Her doctorate was on the political thought of the French Revolution and her first book is, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution (2006). Ruth Scurr began reviewing regularly for The Times and The Times Literary Supplement in 1997. Since then she has also published in The Telegraph, The Observer, The New Statesman, The London Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, The Nation and The New York Observer. As a critic, she is especially interested in contemporary literary fiction. She is a judge for the Man Booker Prize 2007. Ruth Scurr is a College lecturer and Director of Studies in Social and Political Sciences for Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she is a Fellow.



Robespierre is one of the most interesting figures of the French Revolution and this biography aims to bring clarity to his shadowy reputation. Robespierre did not act in a vacuum (the French Revolution is populated with a range of idealistic and nefarious figures), but Scurr's take is that he did possess a kind of self-confidence that permitted him to believe he was morally in the right even as his policies resulted in increasing deaths. I doubt this book will be (nor should it be) the final word on Robespierre, but it is an interesting take on his dramatic life.… (mere)
wagner.sarah35 | 7 andre anmeldelser | Nov 28, 2023 |
Scurr strikes a superlative balance between explanation and flow of history as she depicts how the social justice warrior ascends to national importance only to fall into state-sponsored terror in the name of defending the republic. She brings into the narrative Marat, Danton and the other actors in the French revolution. No more a paragraph is devoted to Charlette Corday, the assassin of Marat, and even less space to an unemployed captain of the artillery who bemoans how the king might have saved himself if he had mounted his horse and led. This biography moves smoothly while taking the time to go into depth of situations and character.… (mere)
forestormes | 7 andre anmeldelser | Dec 25, 2022 |
I find historical accounts far more interesting when they move beyond dates and battles and rulers. Although this book does focus on one ruler and does discuss all his battles, it also provides a more rounded picture of the man by discussing his gardens. As a result, we learn a little about his childhood, education, and his place in an age of discovery. Napoleon takes scientists, naturalists, and artists along with him to Italy and Egypt and brings home vast collections of plants, artworks, and the like. His interest in gardening is partially driven by his interest in new discoveries of the natural world, but it is also part of his drive to conquer, whether it be other countries or nature. He has an insatiable urge for new palaces and gardens as concrete symbols of his achievements.… (mere)
PennyMck | Jul 16, 2021 |
Carlyle's idiosyncratic, verbose prose, rich with metaphor and symbolism is not for everyone, including myself. But if it is, you will no doubt enjoy this "history" of the French Revolution.

I knew nothing about the Revolution before reading this book, and so I had to frequently consult a timeline of the major events and Wikipedia whilst reading, as Carlyle makes reference to dates only infrequently. Having said that, I got what I wanted out of this work which is a basic understanding of the major events.

Of course, if unlike me, you have a prior knowledge of the Revolution, you will get a lot more out of this book, as you would understand the multitude of allusions and references Carlyle makes throughout the work.

I am glad that I read this, if for nothing other than to see an alternative way to write history, and I would recommend this to others who are curious of Carlyle's historical style in this classic work.
… (mere)
EroticsOfThought | Feb 28, 2018 |



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