Danton, by David Lawday: a review by Hilary Mantel

Georges Danton

Georges Danton

Thanks to Ellen of Eighteenth Century Worlds for the link to this interesting review by Hilary Mantel at the London Review of Books.

The subtitle of the book, the Gentle Giant of Terror, strikes me as rather odd. Danton, gentle? He was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Revolutionary Tribunal, and had been Minister of Justice during the prison massacres of September 1792, one of the bloodiest episodes of the Revolution in Paris (though his actual role during the massacres remains hotly debated.)

True, later Danton became an advocate for moderation, which may well have cost him his life.

In any case, the review provides an interesting introduction to one of the main actors of the French Revolution.

And it is difficult to mention Danton without at least a passing reference to the award-winning, claustrophobic and very wordy Wadja film, which I did not much like except for the casting of Gerard Depardieu in the title role.

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