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Patrice Higonnet

Robert Walton Goelet Research Professor of French History, Emeritus & Resident Faculty


Patrice Higonnet

Patrice Higonnet was Robert Walton Goelet Research Professor of French History at Harvard University and retired in 2015. He has in the past published on many historical themes ranging from seventeenth- and twenty-first-century art, eighteenth-century diplomacy, nineteenth-century French deputies, American nationalism, French immigrants to America, French rural life, and the Vichy years (1940–1944). Higonnet’s book Class, Ideology, and the Rights of Nobles (1981) is a study of Jacobin politics during the French Revolution. Sister Republics (1988) compares the French and American revolutions. Goodness Beyond Virtue: Jacobins in the French Revolution (1998) considers the genesis and evolution of Jacobinism during the French revolution. His Paris: Capital of the World (2002) described the history and myths of the French capital from 1750–1940. His Attendant Cruelties: Nation and Nationalism American History appeared in 2007. In the last few years he has returned to an examination of the French Revolution. His "micro-storia" biography of Marie Antoinette’s architect Richard Mique, who designed her toy farm at Versailles and was executed in 1794 with his son and his republican son-in-law, was published last spring. Three essays (in Past and Present, 2006; in the Revue Historique, 2010; and in the forthcoming Festschrift for E. Leroy-Ladurie) form an outline of a new book The Dreams and Sleep of Reason on the origins and nature of Jacobin Terrorism, a word coined in 1794. His review essay entitled “Robespierre” appeared in the July issue of Foreign Affairs.


  • Robert Walton Goelet Research Professor of French History, Emeritus & Resident Faculty, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University

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