Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Michigan State University

Researching the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era in the M.S.U. Libraries: Historiography

This is a guide to researching the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era.


How has the French Revolution been written about?  Here are some suggestions for researching it.

Use the various Historical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias in this library guide.  You can peruse these to get ideas for paper topics.  Some entries address how the topics have been written about.  And there may be entries for various historians. The Book Length Guides and Bibliographies section may also be helpful once you have settled on a topic.

In Books and Media (online catalog) do a subject heading search for this heading: France--History--Revolution 1789-1799--Historiography.  In spring semester, 2022 we have 76 entries on this topic.  Perusing some of these books may help you get ideas for a topic also. 

Some works on the writing of history with chapters on the French Revolution

Cambridge Histories Online Type "French Revolution" into the search box at right.  The 4th entry down on Feb. 10, 2022 is Chapter XXII Historiography of the French Revolution.  The next several entries might also be helpful.

Companion to Historiography Main D 13 .C626 1997 See chapter 19.  Entries have further reading references

Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing Main D 13 .G49 1998 v. 1-2  See pp. 334-336; 330-332.  Plus also entries for individual writers.  Entries have further reading references.

Oxford History of Historical Writing Main D 13 .O34 2011 v. 3-4  v. 3 covers 1400-1800; v. 4 covers 1800-1945.  V. 3 covers up to 1789, so might be useful for topics dealing with lead up to Revolution; see chapters 19 and 20.  V. 4 see chapter 9 "Historical Writing in France, 1800-1914."  Further reading references.

Historiography, an Annotated Bibliography of Journal Articles, Books, and Dissertations Main D 13 .H57 1987 v. 1-2 Dated, so you will want to find more currently written material via the online catalog, periodical indexes, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.  See v. 2 pp. 59-63.

A little list of some famous historians/writers of/on the French Revolution.  Do author searches in our online catalog to find works BY them.  Do Subject searches to find works ABOUT them/their work.  Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution has chapters on some of these historians Main DC 148 .D5313 1989.

Thiers, Adolphe, 1797-1877

Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797

Taine, Hippolyte, 1828-1893

Tocqueville, Alexis de, 1805-1859

Guizot, Francois, 1787-1874

Michelet, Jules, 1798-1874

Blanc, Louis, 1811-1882

Sorel, Albert, 1842-1906

Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881 We have a new reprint ed. of his famous French Revolution a History in Three Volumes Main DC 161 .C3 2020 v. 1-3

Lenotre, G., 1855-1935 (pseud. for Theodore Gosselin)

Aulard, Alphonse, 1849-1928

Jaures, Jean, 1859-1914

Soboul, Albert, 1914-1982

Mathiez, Albert, 1874-1932

Lefebvre, Georges,  1874-1959

Rude, George, 1910-1993

Furet, Francois, 1927-1997

Cobban, Alfred, 1901-1968

Richard Cobb, 1917-1996

William Doyle, 1942-

Tackett, Timothy, 1945-

Simon Schama, 1945-

Hunt, Lynn, 1945-

Recent general books on writing history

Essential Guide to Writing History Essays Main D 16 .A58 2020

Ever-Changing Past: Why All History is Revisionist History Main D 13 .B36 2021

Pocket Guide to Writing in History Main D 13 .R295 2021

Why History? a History  Main D 13 .B56 2020



















Michigan State University