KU professor busts French Revolution myths on BBC show

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Kingston University’s Professor Emerita of History, Marisa Linton, makes an appearance on the BBC Two documentary series Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley.

In the first episode of season two, Linton shared her expertise on the French Revolution, its leader Maximilien Robespierre and myths circulating around the events of the period.

“The programme is aimed at people who are unfamiliar with the French Revolution. Lucy [Worsley] works hard to make it entertaining and accessible, but on the way, she also deals with some major misconceptions and myths about the Revolution,” Linton said.

Linton is a historian of the French Revolution and a specialist on Robespierre. She has written several books and articles that deal with the French Revolution and its leaders.

“I hope the programme will help change people’s minds about Robespierre. He started out as a humanitarian and idealist.

“He was against slavery, and for political rights for religious minorities. He tried unsuccessfully in May 1791 to get the death penalty abolished, as he thought it was unjust and barbaric and was not an effective deterrent.

“Robespierre came to believe, that in a crisis situation – France was at war with the major foreign powers who were trying to overturn the Revolution – that it was acceptable to take the lives of enemies of the Revolution for the sake of ‘the public good’.

“A harsh view, but one that most revolutionaries shared at the moment of crisis in 1793-94,” Linton said.

The first episode of Royal History’s Biggest Fibs season two is available now on BBC iPlayer.

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Laurynas Puikys

Journalism student from Kingston University and Editor of The River. Main interests: books, basketball and motorsports.
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Journalism student from Kingston University and Editor of The River. Main interests: books, basketball and motorsports.

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