After supporting women’s suffrage during the revolution of 1848/1849, feminist and socialist Jeanne Deroin had to leave France. Exiled in London, she continued her work, e.g. as a publisher of the newspaper »L’Almanac des femmes«, being one of many political refugees in Great Britain, throughout Europe, and the world (p. 176). The example of Deroin’s forced migration indicates the key topics of the volume »Banished. Traveling the Roads of Exile in Nineteenth-Century Europe«: legal regulations on exile, travels, daily live, politics, gender, global networks, and remigration.

Based on the research project »AsileuropeXIX«1, the book summarizes the group’s findings on 19th-century political exile and makes use of Delphine Diaz’s benchmark study on asylum in 19th-century France2. Although the eight chapters are written by different teams of authors, the volume is realized as a well-structured, concise, and closely connected narrative. Geographically, the book focuses on refugees coming from France or Spain, from Italian, German, and Polish regions. Host countries studied are France, Belgium, Great Britain and (to a lesser extent) Switzerland.

The introduction by Sylvie Aprile and Delphine Diaz offers an overview of existing research, describes the sources used, and explains the central analytical category, the refugee, and its historical development. As becomes clear already in these first pages, the book concentrates on the historical subjects: the emigrants, their families, and their networks. After the first chapter (by Sylvie Aprile, Delphine Diaz, and Antonin Durand) on main routes and numbers of exile between the Congress of Vienna and the 1870s, the book proceeds, so to speak, in the chronological order of asylum, from departure to remigration.

In Chapter 2 »Taking in and casting out«, Delphine Diaz, Laurent Dornel, and Hugo Vermeren describe the changing political framework of exile, e.g. assistance policies and solidarity as well as expulsion of refugees. Legal rules and multilateral agreements both on banishing and on receiving refugees changed during this period: »Exiles were also a political reality, for states had to draw up legislation and set up schemes to control and regulate their presence on their territory. This saw the transnational creation of a law of asylum and refuge with very different facets depending on the country and moment« (p. 73). Some states, like Great Britain, had constant and well-defined procedures on asylum while nations like France reformed policies and practices regularly.

Sylvie Aprile, Alexandre Dupont, and Hugo Vermeren then discuss »Travel and transit« in Chapter 3: how did people leave when they had to? Who helped along the way, what other resources where needed? In what ways differed the roads to exile related to gender and class? While aristocratic émigrés after the French Revolution often had time to prepare their flight and had the means to travel, Polish refugees frequently journeyed in groups and had to rely on local support. Papers and money were always needed and, thus, class was a central difference for exile, as the following chapters prove, too.

After the often dangerous journey, refugees had to establish themselves and their families abroad: they had to make a living or apply for subsidies (as in France), they had to find a school for their children, and create new networks or reconnect to existing ones. This process of arrival and settlement is, of course, something all migrants had to manage. Nevertheless, as Sylvie Aprile and Delphine Diaz show in Chapter 4, exiles were especially vulnerable, because host countries could alter policies, public discourse could shift from support to xenophobia, the labor market could turn. Moreover, many exiled men and women did not know how long they would have to live abroad and whether they ever could return to their home country.

As the book looks at political refugees (the main group of exiles in 19th-century Europe), Chapter 5 deals with politics. Constance Bantman, Catherine Brice, and Alexandre Dupont explore political activism and networks by refugees, who frequently published articles or pamphlets or organized around political causes for their homeland. In doing so, they created a specific political sphere in the receiving countries.

Since gender still is not studied systematically in migration history, the next part on »Gender and exile«, written by Sylvie Aprile, Delphine Diaz, and Antonin Durand, is most important for the state of research on 19th-century migration and exile. In both this chapter and throughout the whole book, the authors open up new fields of investigation with their findings on the role of women in exile, on female refugees, and on families. They discuss how gendered concepts of exile shaped ideas of »the refugee« (i.e. the male refugee vs. the caring woman) in 19th-century politics and discourse as well as in migration research up until today. The authors underline that their research findings will have to be expanded by further studies.

In Chapter 7, Romy Sánchez and Fabrice Bensimon shed light on the many exiles who left Europe to settle in the Americas or in the European colonies, sometimes by way of penal deportation (e.g. to Australia). In the last section »Returns and memories«, Sylvie Aprile and Laure Godineau look at different examples of remigration, because exile could last from a couple of weeks to a lifetime. Their research also proves that it’s illuminating to study the memories of exiles as well as their politics of remembrance.

The volume offers a comprehensive history of exile in 19th-century Europe. With its comparative approach to European history, its focus on refugees and gender relations, the book is not only a welcome addition to studies on political exile, it also expands migration history, political history, intellectual history, and gender history by linking these fields productively. »Banished« is a must read for students and researchers of flight and migration.

1 See the project’s website: (14.8.2022).
2 Delphine Diaz, Un asile pour tous les peuples? Exilés et réfugiés étrangers dans la France au cours du premier XIXe siècle, Paris 2014 (Recherches).

Zitationsempfehlung/Pour citer cet article:

Levke Harders, Rezension von/compte rendu de: Delphine Diaz, Sylvie Aprile (ed.), Banished. Traveling the Roads of Exile in Nineteenth-Century Europe, Berlin, Boston (De Gruyter Oldenbourg) 2021, 319 p. (Migrations in History, 1), ISBN 978-3-11-073731-8, EUR 94,95., in: Francia-Recensio 2022/4, 19.–21. Jahrhundert – Histoire contemporaine, DOI: