Volney, 'The ruins' and 'Catechism of natural law'

Colin Craig Kidd (Editor), Lucy Kidd (Translator)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Volney was once as influential as Tom Paine, and the author of one of the most popular works of the French Revolutionary era. The Ruins makes an argument for popular sovereignty, couched in the alluring and accessible form of an Oriental dream-tale. A favourite of both Thomas Jefferson, who translated it, and the young Abraham Lincoln, the Ruins advances a scheme of radical, utopian politics premised upon the deconstruction of all the world’s religions. It was widely celebrated by radicals in Britain and America, and exercised an enormous influence on poets from Percy Bysshe Shelley to Walt Whitman for its indictments of tyranny and priestcraft. Volney instead advocates a return to natural precepts shorn of superstition, set out in his sequel, the Catechism of Natural Law. These days Volney enjoys a high profile in African-American Studies as a proponent of Black Egyptianism.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages207
ISBN (Electronic)9781108675611
ISBN (Print)9781108493109, 9781108717267
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

Publication series

NameCambridge texts in the history of political thought


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