Maximilien Robespierre’s defense of the French Revolution remains one of the most powerful and unnerving justifications for political violence ever written. It has an extraordinary resonance in a world obsessed with terrorism and appalled by the language of its proponents.
Yet today the French Revolution is celebrated as the event which gave birth to a nation built on the principles of Enlightenment. So how should a contemporary audience approach Robespierre’s vindication of revolutionary terror? Žižek’s introduction analyzes these contradictions with a prodigious breadth of analogy and reference.