History Painting and Narrative
Delacroix's 'Moments'

Peter Brooks

Special Lecture Series 2


1 February 1999  •  46pp

ISBN: 1-900755-21-1 (paperback)


Narrating historical events was of prime political and aesthetic importance to the generation that came to the fore in France with the revolution of 1830. Delacroix's history painting, now little discussed, reflects crucial interests of the time. The choice of the right moment to illustrate historical events was a continuing subject of concern to Delacroix, as the brief narrative explanations he wrote for the salon catalogues demonstrate. He wants his spectators to understand the chosen moment as part of a continuing narrative but also as the kernel of its historical meaning. This lecture illuminates the sense of the illustrative historical moment in Delacroix's practice, with some reference to Sartre, Freud, and Delacroix's contemporaries Delaroche and Isabey. History Painting and Narrative: Delacroix's 'Moments' was delivered as the Zaharoff Lecture at the Taylor Institution in the University of Oxford in Autumn 1997.

Peter Brooks is Tripp Professor of Humanities and Director of the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University. His books include The Novel of Worldliness, The Melodramatic Imagination, Reading for the Plot, Body Work, Psychoanalysis and Storytelling and World Elsewhere.


  • unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies xxxvi.4, 2000, 450
  • ‘Suggestive and persuasive... As Brooks candidly points out, this is the very style of book illustration, from the great lithographs of the Romantic era down to children's story-books of the 1920s and well beyond.’ — David Bellos, French Studies LIV.4, 2000, 523
  • ‘Shows the cultural influence of particular paintings during our period and beyond.’ — John Whittaker, The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies 62, 2000, 169
  • unsigned notice, Gazette des Beaux-Arts Octobre, 1999, 24

Bibliography entry:

Brooks, Peter, History Painting and Narrative: Delacroix's 'Moments', Special Lecture Series, 2 (Legenda, 1999)

First footnote reference: 35 History Painting and Narrative: Delacroix's 'Moments', peter Brooks, Special Lecture Series, 2 (Legenda, 1999), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Brooks, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Brooks, Peter. 1999. History Painting and Narrative: Delacroix's 'Moments', Special Lecture Series, 2 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Brooks 1999: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Brooks 1999: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

This Legenda title was first published by European Humanities Research Centre, University of Oxford but rights to it are now held by the Author.

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