Marie-Jeanne Roland: The Memoirs of Madame Roland. A Heroine of the French Revolution

Translated and edited by Evelyn Shuckburgh, Barrie & Jenkins, London, 1989 (1986)

* 1754, † 1793, Guillotined

Charge: Collaboration with the Monarchy
Prison: Abbaye and Sainte-Pelagie Prisons, France (Map)

Madame Roland wrote her memoirs in prison while awaiting execution. She had been arrested on 1 June 1793, and on 8 November she went to the guillotine. In these few months she wrote this astonishing and graphic account of the day-to-day course of the French Revolution, and of her childhood and early life beforehand. It has been described as a prose masterpiece of the revolutionary years.

The original text had been written in rough notebooks and smuggled out from time to time by her friends, probably with the connivance of sympathetic officers in the prisons. The collection has no particular shape or structure and was of course never seen as a whole by Mme Roland. There is a great deal of repetition, mainly due to the fact that at one stage, having been told that her notebooks had been throuw on the fire, she rewrote a large part of them. It later transpired that some of the originals had been saved.

< shorter time in prison longer >