[identity profile] ephaistion85.livejournal.com
City of Darkness, City of Light
Marge Piercy

(Beware the spoilers!)

Review )
[identity profile] ephaistion85.livejournal.com
I am sorry if someone already posted about this book, I did not find anything in the tag.
A couple of months ago I finished to read the new edition of Robespierre, derniers temps by J.Ph. Domecq, as I was curious to read about an alternative approach to historical narration. I am not an historian myself, but I am interested in history and as a writer (to-be?), historical fiction is my preferred genre.
The book is an interesting experiment, although, in my opinion, the author sets to himself a too high task; for those of you who might have not read it, it is an attempt to explain the behaviour of Robespierre in the nigh of Thermidor through what the author calls `intuition de la littérature'. The book is not completely fiction and it is constructed around quotation of various sources (primarily Robespierre's speeches), fragmented by an attempt of narrative and various thought of Domecq himself.
The experiment was at first curious, but it soon become really annoying and personally I do not think it achieved anything new; moreover the fictive portions were not enjoyable.
Furthermore at the end of the book is attached a shorter essay (La littérature comme acupuncture) about the role and the theory of historical fiction and the eventual contribution that a writer can give to a historian. It starts from a very sharp critic of another novel, Littell's Les Bienfaisants (that I personally enjoyed as a reading), to debate about the reception both in Literature and in History of Robespierre's figure.
Now, some questions for you. I was curious to know your opinion if you have read the book. Secondly, what is for you `good historical fiction'? I have read mostly discontent with fiction settled during the French Revolution, so it will be interesting to have some debate about what would be a good fiction (if it is actually possible to have one). Moreover what is the relation between (good) historical fiction and History itself, taking to account the fact that we are speaking of two really different genres with very different rules?
[identity profile] camille-love.livejournal.com
...so, in lieu of reading for my exams (what's WRONG with me?!), I've been trying to clear my head by skimming through a historical novel published about a year ago, simply titled Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly. First of all, it's technically for "young adults" (the protagonist is a high school senior). Second of all, its perspective on the Revolution is (surprise) very naive and, well, high school. I started reading it last night and I'm almost done now. But, for all its flaws and blatant royalist sympathies, I can't deny that part of me kind of enjoys it. It's kind of like, The Da Vinci Code only with the French Revolution. So, even while I'm groaning over the history and politics, I can't stop reading because it's a page-turner and I'm hooked on the silly plot! Below is the description from Amazon.com:

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.
 
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.
 
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.


If you have some time to waste (not likely, given that you all seem like intelligent, productive people) and are in the mood for some very lightweight, very not-to-be-taken-seriously fiction, then go for it.

EDIT:  Please forget that I ever suggested reading this book (unless you're reading it in order to write a vehement, public rebuttal of its contents).

A Letter ?

Mar. 4th, 2011 06:31 pm
[identity profile] hoald.livejournal.com
 

Title : Lettre à Daubigny
Date of this letter : 20 juillet 1792
Links : Letter

Date of this letter : 20 July 1792

It doesn't look quite right if it was 1792 .
the content of this letter may happen in 1789 .

The date of the letter is wrong ?
[identity profile] amie-de-rimbaud.livejournal.com
I wanted to share with you another obscure work of fiction about Camille that I found while browsing eBay.fr, a play called Camille Desmoulins; ou Les partis en 1794; drame historique en cinq actes by H. Blanchard and J. Mallian. It was published in the 1830s. 





I'll be sure to let you know if it's interesting or mildly entertaining. Also, I apologize for taking forever to translate and post the rest of that other play (by Duzéa). With school and everything, I've just been too busy. However, I'll make it my project to finish over winter break and tell you when it's up.

On a different note, a Joyeux Halloween to all!
[identity profile] amie-de-rimbaud.livejournal.com
Your resident Camille aficionado here (Camille-eon?) with another 19th-century fictional representation of the Desmoulins couple. It’s a novel called Crowned with the Immortals by Mrs. Hylton (Marianne) Dale, published in 1896. It’s funny because I just discovered the existence of this book a month or two ago, only it was out of print and impossible to find, but then the British Library went ahead and kindly reissued a paperback version of it! So hurray for more Camille literature becoming available.

It’s dedicated to Claretie, whose book Dale used as her central source. Her other sources (listed at the end) include Carlyle and George Henry Lewes’ Life of Robespierre (which I've never read--any good?), so that alone should indicate what kind of a novel it is. Very Victorian.

But for all its Victorian sentimentalism, I actually found it a fairly enjoyable read. If you like Claretie’s style, this novel is pretty much a fleshed out adaptation with dialogue and description, full of charming little domestic scenes and many social engagements among the revolutionaries: dinner parties, nights at the opera, romping around the green pastures of Bourg-la-Reine, etc. It’s not great literature, but the style is fluid and engaging, even if the characterizations are a little flat. While it isn’t free from the 19th-c. British prejudices against the Revolution (and Robespierre, of course, is dealt a poor hand), I wouldn’t say the politics of the novel are very conservative; overall, it’s really not that bad.

I’ve tried to learn more about Marianne Dale, and I’ve found a mention of her in “The Women’s Industrial News” and she seems to have been the author of an essay, “Child Labor Under Capitalism” (1908). Maybe her progressive views on her own society contributed to her interest in revolutionary France! :)
[identity profile] aemorgans.livejournal.com
The French revolution has piqued my interest. Thing is, I'm just not sure where to start reading. I don't want to, you know, read something bad. So that's where you guys come in. What would be, in your opinion, the best books for someone just starting out on the subject? In English please, although if there's something that's a must read in French I might be persuaded to haul out my dictionary and read it, if I can get my hands on a copy (which is probably unlikely). I really appreciate any help you guys can give me.
[identity profile] amie-de-rimbaud.livejournal.com
I just wanted to share two interesting Camille books I recently acquired for my collection (one benefit of perusing eBay.fr instead of studying). I was happy to find them, and I thought you guys would also appreciate their old, moldy wonderfulness.

The first is his unedited (selected...if only it were complete!) ‘Correspondance,’ published in 1836, first edition (according to the seller). I actually just picked this up at the post office today, so I haven’t examined it very closely yet. I’ll be sure to convey/translate any letters of special interest.

The second is ‘Camille Desmoulins, Tragedy’ by Pierre Duzéa, published in 1894. I was especially interested in this, having never seen it before. My efforts to find information on Duzéa have been futile, so I guess he was pretty obscure. If anyone could tell me anything about it, that would be great.

Again, I haven’t had much time to give this a thorough reading; superficial observations don’t support any remarkable literary merit. But as I happen to be particularly interested in 19th c. representations of the Revolution, I’ll eventually give it a much closer look and report back with better details/insight.

Maybe I’ll translate an excerpt in honor of April 5th!
[identity profile] en-franglais.livejournal.com
Bonsoir tout le monde,

Last semester I checked out a book from my university library called Commemorating the Dead in Revolutionary France: Revolution and Remembrance, 1789-1799 by Joseph Clarke but accidentally returned it with a bulk of other books, not having read it. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else had given it a glance over and if so, what you thought of it. Also, if you have any other similar books to recommend, I'd appreciate it, since I'm currently very interested in this topic.

I also recently read an interesting essay called "Gothic Thermidor:  The Bals des victimes, the Fantastic, and the Production of Historical Knowledge in Post-Terror France" by Ronald Schechter. In a word, no one can ascertain that 'bals des victimes' actually took place, but they grew to such mythic proportions that mention of them can be found in many memoirs and other writings from the 1790s to WWI.

I think we should really hold our own 'bal des victimes'; only, instead of commemorating the aristos, we'd be drinking to the Revolution;)
[identity profile] maelicia.livejournal.com
For those who can read French (or Italian, since the original was written in Italian), there's a new book coming out (according to Amazon) on January 14 2010: a biography (!) on Augustin Robespierre, written by Sergio Luzzatto (who also wrote Mémoire de la Terreur: vieux montagnards et jeunes républicains au XIXe siècle, which I recommend if you can read French).


Bonbon Robespierre, la Terreur à visage humain


(Hasty) translation of the summary:

For everybody, the name of "Robespierre" is obviously associated with Maximilien Robespierre, with the French Revolution, jacobinism and the Terror. But Robespierre is also the name of his young brother Augustin, "Bonbon" for his close ones, a figure who is rarely mentioned in history books, except when it comes to the date of 28 July 1794, when the two brothers were condemned to death.

Augustin, however, played a significant role during the Revolution. Also a man of law, militant jacobin, deputy of the Montagne, Bonbon was first of all a man with practical experience, who travelled through Revolutionary France from North to South.

No doubt, by facing Terror directly, he understood that revolutionary violence needed to cease in order to preserve the achievements of the Revolution.

But, if he was convinced that the Revolution needed to come to an end to be preserved, if he dared to express some opposition to Maximilien, he showed, in the end, an exemplary courage in asking to be associated to his brother in the supplice of the scaffold.




Sorry for the bad translation: it's 1am and I should be in bed. -_-
[identity profile] janewt.livejournal.com
Hi. I was wondering if anyone could recommend some decent English-language books (or heck, some well-done websites) that cover the period through the Thermidorean Reaction and the Directory? I'm not particularly interested in military history so much as the political and social; but at a guess, are books on Napoleon my best bet (for easily found in a non-academic library) to start with in hopes of finding a few chapters on this period?
[identity profile] sibylla-oo.livejournal.com
Harvard has just published a book called The Classical Tradition which includes a chapter by M.Sellers called "Classical Influences on the Law and Politics of the French Revolution". Masochists may download in from the SSRN. I will just add that, in my opinion, the abstract is a bunch of all sins a historian or anyone approaching history may commit. Moreover, these "sins" have very strong ideological implications. And I cannot but laugh at "transatlantic successes", I mean, Soviet propaganda wouldn't express it better XD 


The abstract provided by the author is extremely eloquent:
Abstract:     
The French Revolution was the last great political event to take its inspiration, iconography and institutions primarily from classical antiquity. French revolutionaries depended heavily on Roman and Greek history for ideas, and for the courage to apply them. But even if their understanding of history had been accurate (it seldom was) French politicians could never settle which ancient model to follow. Classical antiquity provides innumerable conflicting moral and political examples and the French came close to having tried them all, running through the whole of Roman history in fifteen years. Eighteenth-century Frenchmen postured as Romans, Athenians and Spartans, without ever achieving liberty against arbitrary power, or any consistent rule of law. The French Revolution’s ostentatious classicism, comprehensive experimentation, and obvious failure, discredited Roman and Greek antiquity as practical models for political reform. Future revolutions would need new models, including the experience of France itself, and the transatlantic successes of the United States of America. The French Revolution discredited classical antiquity, by following it too capriciously, too blindly and to the bitter end.

 Keywords: classical tradition, French Revolution, French republic, Roman republic, Sparta, Athens, neo-classicism, constitutionalism, liberty, rule of law, separation of powers, Rousseau, Constant, Robespierre
(see: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1437165)

[identity profile] highfantastical.livejournal.com
Hi people,

(I think this is all right under the advertising rules - if not, I will totally understand if the Mods want to delete it.)

Anyway! I'm here to mention that I have nominated Dantons Tod and The Danton Case for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide - A Place of Greater Safety had already been nominated, which is great because it's my all-time favourite.

So, lots and lots of potential for revolutionary goodness (or, indeed, badness...) at Christmas, and I thought I'd post about it here in case anyone else fancied signing up for yuletide and requesting/offering these fandoms. Or indeed other revolution-focused books or films: the film Danton; City of Darkness, City of Light - there are lots of other things that could be nominated. I chose my nominations based on level of slashiness between Camille and Danton, I must admit...

I'm definitely planning to request, and probably offer revolution!fic - last year I was given a wonderful Camille/Danton story, which was a pretty amazing thing to wake up to on Christmas day. :)
[identity profile] tsukidelacroix.livejournal.com
Recommend me good books, please? <33


I am terribly craving for history books. And my mom also wants me to make a huge list of books, but I don't know what else to put there - I have so little, so far! And I really feel like reading, what, fifteen books from here to the end of summer!
I really want books that are related to the eras I like (and that this community has to do with). That is, Baroque, Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian eras, etc. I want books that are mostly about fashion and lifestyle of, but I also like good mystery, vampire, super-really-morbid and erotic novels that have to do with the eras I like. Since this community only has to do with the French revolution, I'd appreciate it if you recommended me any novel or book that has to do with it.
If you're knowledgeable in books and/or give me your input in this, I'd greatly appreciate it! Thank you so much!


Soon to be x-posted to a bazillion communities.

Request

Sep. 10th, 2009 10:06 pm
[identity profile] missweirdness.livejournal.com
I'm doing this for one of my friends, as she just found out about the glorious Saint-Just (after a long texting session xD); So therefore, i need some suggestions as to the books that i can give to her.

Any books about him, please? S'il te plait? xD

thanks anyhow ^^
[identity profile] momesdelacloche.livejournal.com
It's called "Danton : the gentle giant of terror" - you are already loving it, aren't you? - and it's by David Lawday.
I WOULD have posted some of the best bits - I mean, the descriptions of Robespierre and the comparisons between the two men are priceless - but it has been taken from my college library and rudely put on the New Books display in the Uper Reading Room of the Bodleian. So if you are anywhere near there, go and see it!
I mean.. I don't know how the author knows half of the stuff... I think - my theory is - he secretly discovered Danton's private diary! but he doesn't want anyone else to know he has it, so whenever he uses information from THE TOP SECRET DIARY OF GEORGES DANTON AGED 34 1/4 he just doesn't site any references at all, and leaves us all open mouthed - like for instance, when he tells us exactly what wine Danton and Camille Desmoulins ordered from their favourite café on a particular day, and that Robespierre turned it down for a glass of milk instead. He had previously written about Robespierre had a "feline" look about him (and "joyless eyes" - [here he did site a source, the lovely Michelet]) which partially explains the milk but other than that...
I mean, you have to see this. This guy has discovered something big, I'm sure. He's just not telling us about it.

Here is a review by a respected person on the French Revolution scene here in England: http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/doyle_07_09.html

P.S. Sozzalicious to anyone I sort of intentionally annoyed. I am just like a lowly deputy of the Plain. Nobody up there on the Mountain need listen to anything I say
P.P.S. But do read this book because you will not be able to put it down (without hurling it across the room and foaming slightly at the mouth)(in amazement)!
[identity profile] en-franglais.livejournal.com
Bonsoir/matin--

If you've ever been to Paris, you're inevitably walked by those used ("rare") bookstands that line the streets, proffering all kinds of literature from histories to popular magazines. Ok, they seem to be mainly for tourists, but I think it's fun to browse a little! Anyway, the last time I  was in Paris (this past fall, it feels too long already), I was just walking along the Seine--shivering, poorly dressed for the weather--when I passed one of these bookstands and happened to cast an eye over its wares. I was immediately struck, not by a title, but rather by a front cover design--I saw an image very familiar and dear to me, the David painting of Camille, Lucile, and Horace! Of course, I slowed for closer inspection. "L'enfant et la vie familiale sous l'Ancien Régime" par Philippe Ariès. I grabbed the book immediately and shelled out the 4 euro it cost--much to the amusement of the Frenchwoman who was overseeing the stand (I think she asked me twice if it was "Ce livre?" I wanted, which must have been due either to my obvious Americanness or the silly smile on my face). 


But anyway--does anyone else find it sad how the Desmoulins family ended up on the cover of a book about family when their own experience as a family was so short-lived and tragic? Not to mention the fact that they're technically not an Old Regime family? I suppose the publisher, or at least the cover design people, must have been so charmed by the painting that they chose to overlook its famous Revolutionary subjects and their story? I can only guess it was an artistic decision, not a historical one. Hmm. In any case, there they are. I haven't examined it too closely--it's more of a shameless souvenir--but I'm pretty sure the Desmoulins aren't in the actual text (correct me if I'm wrong).

[identity profile] estellacat.livejournal.com

Does anyone know anything about Bernard Lerat or his book (published around the time of the Bicentennial) Le terrorisme révolutionnaire? I know this book exists because I've come across several copies for sale on-line, but oddly, not a one of my books on the Revolution, whether in French or in English, mention him in their bibliographies. I can't fathom why.
 
I've tried to think of reasons, but none of them seem to make sense. Is it perhaps a vulgarisation rather than a work of serious scholarship? Surely then, at least, my books of historiography or on the portrayal of the Revolution ought to mention it. Does it make laughable assertions? So does Gueniffey, but people cite him all the time. Could the sites selling this book have made a typo in his name? But multiple sites making the same typo? Seems rather unlikely. And it's not as if any of my books cite anyone with a similar name. Is it just a book of so little importance that no one finds it worth mentioning? Is there really any book quite *that* insignificant?

...It's a puzzle to me, truly. So does anyone have any thoughts on the matter? Better still, has anyone actually read the book? Please, share any information you might have!

[identity profile] missweirdness.livejournal.com
This popped in my brain a few minutes ago, do any of you have a favorite book on the revolution or on any particular subject? Like Maxime, Camille, St. Just..etc;

Personally i love the 12 who ruled by R.R Palmer. Maybe because it's the first book that actually talks about the CPS in such  great detail. I like lug it around with me. It's practically falling apart. xD



And of course..

what is your least or worst favorite book?

       I'm not sure. I have to read a bit more....
[identity profile] mersirena.livejournal.com
Hello everyone! I was wondering if anyone could recommend the best, most informative non-fiction books on the French Revolution. I'll be purchasing several, as I need a broad range of topics, from music and art, to politics and economics. I browsed through quite a few entries, but I mostly found recommendations for novels and the like.

Thanks in advance!

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