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After the war he studied history at University College, Oxford under J.M.Thompson and completed a doctorate at the Sorbonne University. From 1948 until 1967 he was on the staff of Manchester University. When his head of department urged him to drop the French Revolution and take up teaching of the Renaissance he decided to leave and moved to Newcastle. In 1974 he was then persuaded by Gerald Aylmer to take up a position in York, where he became head of department in 1978.
He was elected as a fellow of the British Academy in 1980. He was also made the first president of the Society for the Study of French History in 1987. He officially retired in 1989 but continued to teach at the university into his 70s.
Throughout his career Hampson's chief historical focus was upon the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. In the case of the latter, he was one of a number of British historians (such as Alfred Cobban and Richard Cobb) who challenged the orthodoxies of previous scholarship regarding the revolution.
In 1948 Hampson married Jacqueline Gardin, the sister of one of his shipmates from his period with the Free French Navy. They were married until her death in 2007. They had two children together, Francoise and Michele.
- La marine de l’an II : mobilisation de la flotte de l’Ocean, 1793-1794, Paris : Librairie Narcel Rivière, 1959
- A Social History of the French Revolution, London: Routledge and Keegan, 1963
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- The first European revolution, 1776-1815, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969
- The life and opinions of Maximilien Robespierre, London: Duckworth, 1974
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- Danton, London: Duckworth, 1978
- Will & circumstance : Montesquieu, Rousseau and the French Revolution, London : Duckworth, 1983
- Prelude to terror : the Constituent Assembly and the failure of consensus, 1789-1791, Oxford ; New York, N.Y. : B. Blackwell, 1988
- Saint-Just, Oxford, UK ; Cambridge, Mass., USA : Blackwell, 1991
- The perfidy of Albion : French perceptions of England during the French Revolution, Houndmills : Macmillan Press, 1998
- Doyle, William. "Norman Hampson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- "Norman Hampson". The London Review of Books. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- Hampson, Norman. "The Two French Revolutions". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- "Memories of Norman Hampson". French History. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- "Norman Hampson". York Press. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
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