Marriage and Revolution: Monsieur and Madame Roland by Sian Reynolds
Release Date: September 15, 2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Marriage and Revolution is a double biography of Jean-Marie Roland (1734-1793) and Marie-Jeanne Phlipon, later Madame Roland (1754-1793), leading figures in the French Revolution. J.-M. Roland was minister of the Interior for a total of eight months during 1792. The couple were close to Brissot and the Girondins, and both died during the Terror. Mme Roland became famous for her posthumous prison memoirs and is the subject of many biographies, but her husband, despite being a key figure in administration of France, seldom out of the limelight during his time in office, is often marginalized in histories of the Revolution.
Sian Reynolds examines the Roland marriage from its beginnings in an ancien regime mesalliance, opposed by both families, through its close cooperation in the 1780s, to its final phase as a political partnership during the Revolution. Both Roland's actions as minister and Mme Roland's role as a woman close to power were praised and blamed at the time, and the controversies have persisted. Based on manuscript sources including many unpublished letters, Marriage and Revolution sets out to examine an unusually companionate marriage over the long term: its intimacy, parenthood, everyday life in the provinces, friendships, academic cooperation, political enthusiasms and quarrels, and finally its dramatic ending during the Revolution.