Robert Muchembled is among France’s most eminent living historians. Professor of Modern History at University of Paris XIII since 1986, he has attained a reputation as one of the leading social and cultural historians of his generation. He began his career by focusing on popular and elite culture in early modern France, but he has gained greater attention for his more wide-ranging accounts of particular themes and motifs in the history of the West. These writings have included a study of changing perceptions of the Devil and an account of the history of violence. In these works he has skilfully traced how wider shifts in prevailing understandings of human nature and society have correlated with changing representations of specific cultural and social phenomena. Polity has published A History of Violence, A History of the Devil and Orgasm and the West.