King's College London

Research portal

Mingrat: anatomy of a restoration cause célèbre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225–246
JournalFrench History
Issue number2
Early online date2 Jul 2014
E-pub ahead of print2 Jul 2014
PublishedJun 2015

King's Authors


This article explores the discursive afterlife of the 1822 murder of Marie Gérin by the Abbé Mingrat, who subsequently fled France and was never extradited. The crime, which the Restoration government attempted to conceal, is read here as a cause célèbre that acted throughout the Restoration as a watchword of anticlerical and otherwise oppositional opinion. The article examines pamphlets published by Marie’s relatives and by Paul-Louis Courier, on the one hand, and on the other, official papers relating to the persecution of Marie’s brother for his attempts to publicize the crime. It takes these texts as symptomatic of a broader early nineteenth-century dispute: a cultural and moral disagreement about the meaning of scandal, which might be imagined ‘conservatively’, as a pathogenic spectacle that spreads corruption; or, as it was by the pamphleteers, ‘progressively’, as a therapeutic revelation that brings that corruption to an end. It also contributes to our understanding of the modes of political participation available to those excluded from the Restoration political process.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454