Space, politics and desire: configuring the landscape in post-Revolutionary France

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The French Revolution radically reconfigured citizens' views of both real and imagined space. This article sets out to explore this process of reconfiguration and the relationship between politics and space from the period immediately before the French Revolution in 1789 to the collapse of the Empire in 1815 and its aftermath. Although the liberties brought about by the Revolution made access to space one of its defining characteristics, the spaces of the Revolution were characterized by a diversity in which each political constituency made a space of its own choosing. Those spaces took forms as diverse as the pastoral garden, tales of devil abduction, political festivals, space travel, and hallucinatory visions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Switzerland. It was only when Napoleon 'terminated' the Revolution in 1799 that space was given a rational, homotopic shape, a shape that endured until the imperatives of the Bourbon Restoration required another configuration. This is one of the first articles to plot changes in the representation of space and their connection to shifting political ideologies. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-508
Number of pages22
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • Space
  • French Revolution
  • Napoleon
  • liminality
  • Paris


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