France's Revolutionary Fervour Then and Now

At last night’s French Society lecture, Professor John Keiger, a politics and international relations specialist at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, spoke superbly about the reasons why and occasions on which France has broken out in revolutionary fervour post 1789, and linked many of these uprisings with the current gilet jaune movement.  

He also spoke of the Newton-like law of action/reaction at play in France, where the revolutionary strand is met by a reactionary strand, and the points at which this regularly appears, perhaps even among a few of those current yellow-vest protestors. 

The CLR was packed with pupils from the Third Form to the Upper Sixth, and they distinguished themselves with some excellent questions. Highlights included Yifei Zheng (Sc) on ‘the fetishisation of socialism and revolutionary movements’ and Angus Mihell (Sc) on ways in which Macron could ‘quash’ the gilets jaunes, alongside Danila Mikhaylov (C) expertly quizzing the professor on the wider historical and political ramifications of France’s example to the world.  

It was a very scholarly evening, and even those pupils without a specific background in French politics, history and ideology were held by the clarity of Prof Keiger’s explanations.

W Gunson