Enzo Traverso talks to Adam Shatz about his new book on the history of revolutionary passions, images and ideas, from Haiti’s emancipatory slave rebellion in 1791 to Stalin’s top-down authoritarianism. Are revolutions, as Marx suggested, the ‘locomotives of history’, or, as Walter Benjamin saw it, the emergency brake? And what can modern political movements learn from their revolutionary forebears?
Image shows Géricault's The Raft of the Medusa, which Traverso uses as the starting point of his discussion.
Music by Kieran Brunt / Produced by Anthony Wilks