THE REVOLUTIONARY THEORIES OF Louis AUGUSTE BLANQUI, by Allan B. Spitzer. Columbia Univ. Press, 1957.
This is a painstaking, if somewhat pedestrian, study of the theories of the “first professional revolutionary” of Europe. Blanqui spent forty of his seventy-six years in the prisons of all the regimes which governed France betwee 1830 and 1881, and during these years of enforced idleness he read widely and wrote profusely. Much of this material has been lost but parts of it are available in twenty volumes of unpublished manuscript at the Paris Bibiiothe que Nationale.
Blanqui was sometimes a shrewd historical observer, as when he talked of the strange “eclecticism of the guillotine” during the last stage of Jacobin terror, but he was not an original thinker. Disciple of eighteenth century Enlightenment and of Babouvisme, his doctrine consisted in an amalgam of messianic belief in The Revolution, confidence that small revolutionary minorities co...
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