The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Sep 27, 2012 - History - 317 pages
0 Reviews
The French Revolution brings to mind violent mobs, the guillotine, and Madame Defarge, but it was also a publishing revolution: more than 1,200 novels were published between 1789 and 1804, when Napoleon declared the Revolution at an end. In this book, Julia V. Douthwaite explores how the works within this enormous corpus announced the new shapes of literature to come and reveals that vestiges of these stories can be found in novels by the likes of Mary Shelley, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Honoré de Balzac, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, and L. Frank Baum.   Deploying political history, archival research, and textual analysis with eye-opening results, Douthwaite focuses on five major events between 1789 and 1794—first in newspapers, then in fiction—and shows how the symbolic stories generated by Louis XVI, Robespierre, the market women who stormed Versailles, and others were transformed into new tales with ongoing appeal. She uncovers a 1790 story of an automaton-builder named Frankénsteïn, links Baum to the suffrage campaign going back to 1789, and discovers a royalist anthem’s power to undo Balzac’s Père Goriot. Bringing to light the missing links between the ancien régime and modernity, The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France is an ambitious account of a remarkable politico-literary moment and its aftermath.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Womens March on Versailles
2 The Frankenstein of the French Revolution
3 The Once and Only Pitiful King
4 How Literature Ended the Terror
In Guise of a Conclusion
On the Republican Calendar and Dates

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Julia V. Douthwaite is professor of French at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Exotic Women: Literary Heroines and Cultural Strategies in Ancien Régime France and The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster: Dangerous Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

Bibliographic information