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Letters from Revolutionary France by Watkin Tench

Letters from Revolutionary France


Letters from Revolutionary France by Watkin Tench

This work presents an annotated version of the letters of Major Watkin Tench, who was held on parole in the town of Quimper in Brittany between 1794-1795. Tench was writing in the period between the fall of Robespierre and the massacre of invading emigres south if Quimper in June 1795, a tense period in which deep-seated conflicts over religion and language were fuelling counter-revotionary uprisings in rural Brittany. His account illustrates and analyzes the volatile relationship between languages (English, French, Breton) and socio-political codes (republican and monarchist, genteel and plebian, Catholic and anticlerical) during the French Revolution.


'The letters ... are an easy read, and provide an intriguing insight into how the provincial society of western Brittany was coping with the political uncertainty of the Thermidorian period ... a useful ... source for eyewitness information on this period.'
Modern and Contemporary France

'Tench's letters will be of considerable interest to students of naval interesting little book-something to be read in bed with a lot of rum. It comes with informative notes, appendices and a lengthy introduction, hallmarks of a good editor.'
Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Watkin Tench was a British marine officer who is best known for publishing two books describing his experiences in the First Fleet, which established the first settlement in Australia in 1788. Gavin Edwards is Emeritus Professor of English at the University South Wales. He Is the author of George Crabbe's Poetry on Border Land (1990) and Narrative Order 1789-1819: Life and Story in an Age of Revolution (2005).

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Book Info

Publication date

8th August 2001


Watkin Tench

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University of Wales Press


208 pages


Diaries, letters & journals
European history
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
Military history
Colonialism & imperialism



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