A Revolution in Fiction is designed to encourage thinking that crosses over disciplines–literature, history, art history, and the human sciences–as they pertain to revolutions. Since its origins in 2009, it has become a site for commentary on revolutions in fact as well as fiction. Revolutionary studies have abruptly become urgent, given the developments of 2014 in Ukraine, the Arab Spring in Egypt, Syria, and Libya, the summer 2011 violence in the UK and Chile, and the shocking events related to COVID-19, #BLM, police brutality and racism in spring-summer 2020. By bringing a historical perspective to our world today, we may get the distance needed to steer clear of at least some of the violence that is also part of revolution.
The site is maintained by Julia Douthwaite Viglione, one-time professor of French at the University of Notre Dame (1991-2018), author of The Frankenstein of 1790 and Other Lost Chapters from Revolutionary France (University of Chicago Press, 2012), and co-editor of Teaching Representations of the French Revolution. Info on other publications, on revolutions as well as the ongoing series of children’s books, is available via academia.com.
FYI: The lovely young woman of the avatar is Charpentier’s portrait of “Jeune femme,” 1795 at the Snite Museum of Art.
2021 UPDATE! The “Respect” quilt project, a civil rights artwork for our times. My post-academic business, Honey Girl Books and Gifts, is now creating “Respect” quilts in honor of Black Americans and our shared commitment to human rights. $100 are donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for each quilt sold. Bright and colorful, unique and politically charged, these “Respect” quilts are available exclusively from Honey Girl B& G’s Etsy shop.
En français: Nous invitons les chercheurs et les étudiants français et francophones à contribuer à cette exploration collective de la France révolutionnaire et ses échos ailleurs. Nous nous intéressons également à vos réflexions sur les moyens de révolutionner l’enseignement des lettres aujourd’hui.
Revolution Now: We hope to explore and publicize new findings about French revolutionary art, literature, and culture, and to inspire more research on the little-known, transitional period between the ancien régime and modernity (1780-1830). We also seek reflection on the relations between the French Revolution and its impact abroad in Saint Domingue / Haiti, the Ukraine, or elsewhere, in the 18th century or today. With the new wave of revolutions sweeping the Middle East in 2011 and the Ukraine in 2014, the time is ripe for a cool and clear-sighted ‘revolutionary studies’ to guide public debate.
Update as of 7/12/18: Nowadays, it may seem more quixotic to maintain this blog, given the overwhelming sense of defeat among the Left, faced with he-whose-name-will-not-be-spoken and his acolytes in Congress. But even if it’s only in fiction, style or our collective memory, the Revolution will persevere! Update as of 7/13/21: May he remain forever irrelevant, silenced and impotent. And may we never forget the terrible years of Trump.
A Revolution in Fiction is linked to Teach This!, a list of ideas and strategies for teachers of all levels to mobilize a revolution in teaching literature.
A Revolution in Fiction forms a politically-charged pendant to the writer’s other blog, the more philosophical and meditative Daily Joy with Honey Girl: T’ai chi and Zen Wisdom for Beginners, begun 11/17. The times are changing and so are we! But French language, literature, and history and the Revolution in particular will always remain a passion, so you can expect that A Revolution in Fiction will abide for some time to come.
Readers may take heart knowing that writing about Revolution has led the author to create and offer, since 2012, a radically involved approach to community service. I offer a free semester-long weekly writing workshop for kids age 8-12 known as Write YOUR Story. It began in South Bend, Indiana and is still going strong in Seattle, WA (or will do so, after the COVID-19 crisis passes). Inspiring children to feel free, have fun while thinking, and be creative may be the most radical answer to oppression.
Welcome to my world!
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