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The French Revolution is not over

The French historian François Furet died almost 20 years ago, but the fights over his legacy are as savage as ever

By Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins  

“Does anything remain of the left’s longstanding love affair with the French Revolutionary tradition?”  ©WM Commons 

In September 2004, over two consecutive issues of the London Review of Books, the Marxist historian Perry Anderson issued forth a 20,000-word diagnosis of what, in his view, was ailing France. Unlike most British commentators, Anderson rooted French decline not in the country’s attachment to socialist dirigisme, but rather in an Anglo-American neoliberal incursion that had undermined the very things that had once made France great: its culture (producing the finest literature and…

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