In Response to: Novel for All Centuries

It is not true that the revolution of 1832 was less important than that of 1848. In 1832 the intransigent Charles X of the Bourbon dynasty was overthrown; this was the reaffirmation of the original French Revolution. He was replaced by a distant cousin, Louis Philippe, of the Orleans family and was more or less a constitutional monarch and a liberal. The 1848 revolution was the overthrow of this monarch and replacement first with a dangerously leftist republic, which gave way in a couple of years to the dictatorship of Napoleon III. A France that could have remained a constitutional monarchy as laid out in 1832 would have made France more like Britain. That is to say, much better! Victor Hugo was one of the most-read and least-accomplished writers in France, a mediocre novelist and poet, a mediocre participant in politics, and all around a typically useless French intellectual.

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.