Great Bad Men

  • Stephen Bygrave
Part of the Studies in Romanticism book series


In 1795 Coleridge praises Brissot, the French Girondin leader guillotined in October 1793, as ‘rather a sublime visionary’ than a quick-eyed politician. Perhaps the dichotomy suggested in Chapter 5 above will be recognised. Coleridge says that Brissot proved ‘unfit for the helm in the stormy hour of Revolution’, and contrasts him with Robespierre, for whom ends justified means:

What that end was, is not known: that it was a wicked one, has by no means been proved. I rather think, that the distant prospect to which he was travelling, appeared to him grand and beautiful; but that he fixed his eye on it with such intense eagerness as to neglect the foulness of the road. (Lectures 1795 [CC], i, 35)


Prose Passage Socratic Dialogue Paradise Lost Distant Prospect Sacrificial Victim 
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© Stephen Bygrave 1986

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  • Stephen Bygrave

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