Jonathan’s work on the eighteenth-century radical tradition and the libertine John Wilkes led him to Wilkes’ friend, the French transvestite diplomat and spy Charles de Beaumont, better known as the Chevalier d’Eon. He started working in the archives of the French secret service at the Quai d’Orsay in 2002. Visiting Fellowships at Yale University’s Lewis Walpole Library and the Huntington Library in Los Angeles in 2002 and 2005 allowed him to do further research into other sources relating to D’Eon and Wilkes, and gain unique insights into Anglo-French relations in the years leading up to the American Revolution.
Double Crossing: Sedition and Espionage in Britain and France, 1759-1789 tells of John Wilkes and the Chevalier d’Eon’s conflicts with royal authority and their successful attempts to win over public opinion in defense of civil liberties - all while dodging illegal arrest, extradition and assassination attempts masterminded by the British and French regimes. Double Crossing presents a refreshingly different take on Anglo-French relations in the eighteenth century, emphasizing mutual exchange and fascination rather than the traditional caricature of binary opposition, and demonstrates how the American founding fathers learnt from both.
Jonathan Conlin was born in New York and later moved to Britain, where he studied history at Oxford. He went on to do graduate work at the Courtauld Institute and Cambridge, becoming a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College in 2002. During this period he spent long periods in Parisian archives, developing an interest in the history of Anglo-French relations. Since his appointment to the University of Southampton in 2006 he has taught courses on a unusually wide range of topics, from the moral philosophy of Adam Smith through the history of cemeteries to the impact of evolution on Victorian society...
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