Richard Cobb (1917-1996) was born in Tunbridge Wells, the son of a minor civil servant, and educated at Shrewsbury and Oxford. A year spent in France between public school and college turned him into a committed Francophile, leading to an interest in French history. Cobb served unhappily in the British Army during the Second World War, after which he moved to France, where he stayed for many years, leading a Bohemian life while also conducting extensive research on the French Revolution in Parisian and provincial archives. He was particularly interested in documents that illuminated the lives and opinions of ordinary men and women and other people ordinarily overlooked by historians: lunatics, murderers, prostitutes, beggars, and members of the political fringe. In 1962, he became a Fellow of Balliol College; in 1973, he was appointed Professor of Modern History at Oxford. He continued, however, to spend as much time as he could in France, where he was made a member of the legion d'honneur. Cobb's many historical studies include The People's Armies and The Police and the People: French Popular Protest, 1789-1820. He also wrote a memoir, The End of the Line, as well as many articles about French life and literature.
"His France--urban, northern, provincial, pedestrian, noisy, unpuritanical, festive--was in contrast to, and predicated upon, another France: bureaucratic, official, suburban, safe, rule--crazy, scared."
-- Julian Barnes "Prophet of the past, poete maudit, Richard Cobb is a visionary. His books will take you on an extraordinary intellectual and emotional journey....Read them as you would Gogol: in search of dead souls."
-- Robert Darnton, The New York Review of Books
"Cobb was a true historian of life 'from below', using archival evidence to bring alive the reality--and the suffering--of ordinary people's existence. His essays about his own life and times have the same loving attention to detail, to the texture of quotidian events, to real people and real feeling."
-- Geoffrey Wheatcroft, New Statesman
Series: New York Review Books Classics
Number Of Pages: 334
Published: 1st March 2004
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.32 x 12.7
Weight (kg): 0.36