Publishing date: Nov 14, 2017
Robespierre’s justification of the Terror in the French Revolution
Robespierre’s defence of the French Revolution remains one of the most powerful and unnerving justifications for political violence ever written. It has an extraordinary resonance in a world obsessed with terrorism and appalled by the language of its proponents. Yet today the French Revolution is celebrated as the event which gave birth to a nation built on the principles of Enlightenment. So how should a contemporary audience approach Robespierre’s vindication of revolutionary terror? Žižek’s introduction analyzes these contradictions with a prodigious breadth of analogy and reference.
Maximilien Robespierre is one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. He was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his arrest and execution in 1794.
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.