Jean-Paul Marat, Hero and Anti-Hero of the French Revolution
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This study demonstrates how the image of Jean-Paul Marat, Revolutionary journalist and Jacobin deputy, was manipulated, both during and after the French Revolution. A wide range of media, including funeral orations, newspapers, festival programs, song-sheets, prints and paintings, as well as the work of 19th- and 20th-century historians, is utilized to demonstrate Marat's symbolic importance to the political struggles of revolutionary and post-revolutionary France. Competition between various revolutionary factions for the right to possess and define Marat's heroic image is documented, as are the ways in which that image served to legitimize and project their ideologies. Marat's image as anti-hero is also considered, with attention focussed upon moderate, federalist, and Thermidorian propaganda. Providing a full treatment of the most important hero-cult of the French Revolution, this study also identifies the importance of heroes and anti-heroes in modern political life.
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