Children: two. Education: Cambridge University, Ph.D., 2000.
Literary critic. Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, fellow of Gonville and Caius College.
As a doctoral student at Cambridge University, Ruth Scurr focused her studies on the French Revolution and the creation of the modern republican government. Scurr continued her research at Cambridge as a postdoctoral fellow, with a particular interest in the French Revolution and the history of social science. In 2006 Scurr published her first book, a biography of Maximilien Robespierre titled Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the FrenchRevolution. Robespierre was an ardent supporter of the Revolution and was committed to carry out political change by whatever means necessary, which included the execution of thousands of proven or suspected political enemies. In Fatal Purity, Scurr attempts to put forth a balanced historical portrayal of Robespierre, explaining his philosophies and motivations within the context of the political landscape of the time.
A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented about the book: "Scurr's first book scores highly in unraveling not only her subject's complexities but those of his era." Booklist critic Brad Hooper added: "Scurr is to be applauded—and read, of course" for a "well-balanced, evenly shaded portrait." History Today contributor Marisa Linton commended Scurr for "a very competent job, giving her account in a clear and evocative style," while Jim Doyle contended in Library Journal that Scurr "evokes the temper of those times through the copious use of primary sources, and her characterizations … are splendid."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2006, Brad Hooper, review of Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution, p. 21.
History Today, June, 2006, Marisa Linton, review of Fatal Purity, p. 66.
Library Journal, April 1, 2006, Jim Doyle, review of Fatal Purity, p. 104.
London Review of Books, April 20, 2006, Hilary Mantel, review of Fatal Purity.
Observer (London, England), May 7, 2006, review of Fatal Purity.
Publishers Weekly, March 6, 2006, review of Fatal Purity, p. 62.
Telegraph, September 11, 2006, A.N. Wilson, review of Fatal Purity.
Times Literary Supplement, June 7, 2006, Sudhir Hazareesingh, review of Fatal Purity.