[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] amie-de-rimbaud.livejournal.com
I read the novel L’Archange et le Procureur by Christophe Bigot over winter break and thought I’d briefly share a few of my thoughts. I was surprised to see such positive reviews online, since my own is rather lukewarm.

The story is narrated by Annette Duplessis, who is fulfilling the request of Horace (in a letter from Haiti) to impart his parents’ ‘true’ story. On the level of historical content, there weren’t any serious problems that I can remember. In terms of characterization, Bigot doesn’t glorify the Desmoulins couple; both have their flaws, related and qualified by Annette, the moral anchor of the novel. Saint Just is the most ‘evil’ presence; although he doesn’t appear much, his influence over Robespierre determines the fates of Camille, Lucile, and the Revolution. When she goes to plead for her daughter’s life, Annette glimpses a shirtless Saint Just in Robespierre’s bedroom.

When I first saw the title, I assumed that Lucile was the ‘archange,’ which made me wary of an idealized portrait. But it actually refers to a quotation from Marc Bloch that opens the novel (“L’histoire, à condition de renoncer elle-même à ces faux airs d’archange...”) and to Saint Just, who reminds Annette of an engraving in the Desmoulins home of the “archange de la liberté.” Lucile isn’t quite an angel, which is good; she ranges from coquettish to callous, but isn’t overall very interesting, her primary quality being extreme devotion to Camille.

The novel doesn’t take an especially new or different angle on the Desmoulins story. I’d recommend it if you have some time to spare, but it’s not a must-read for any Camille fan.
[identity profile] estellacat.livejournal.com
So, as promised, I'm finally (about a month late, but better late than never, I suppose) posting what I have as far as the portrayal of Éléonore Duplay in literature goes. The following links will only lead to English-language excerpts, but if anyone feels like browsing my journal there are a few French ones posted there too. 

In case anyone missed my explanation of why I'm doing all this for as minor a historical personage as Éléonore Duplay, I'll just briefly sum up my reasons: the first, is that--as many of you know--I'm planning of eventually writing a novel in which Éléonore will be the protagonist, so it's useful to me personally to know what others have written about her. The second is, quite simply, that it's actually possible to compile all the excerpts of novels and plays that feature Éléonore, whereas, if I were trying to do the same for say, Robespierre, well, there are entire books from his perspective... Needless to say, it would be pretty near impossible. Third, I figure since I'm making this compilation in any case, I might as well share it, since a little knowledge is unlikely to do anyone any harm. (In fact, at some point, I'll probably post some non-fiction excerpts as well, just to add some more *useful* knowledge to the mix.)

Also, while I'm not particularly fond of stating the obvious, I think it might be a good idea to note that since these are novels and plays, it's a good idea to take whatever notions the authors might get into their heads to represent, with a grain of salt. Or a whole shaker. Or a whole salt-mine. But you get the idea: when it comes to accuracy, some of these are better than others.

So, the links:

Burlesques, William Makepeace Thackeray, 1847
 British Artists from Hogarth to Turner: A Series of Biographical Sketches, Walter Thornbury, 1861 and The Atelier du Lys, or an Art Student in the Reign of Terror; Margaret Roberts; 1877
Macmillan's Magazine, John Morley, 1888
Longman's Magazine, Charles Longman, 1890 and The Journal of a Spy in Paris During the Reign of Terror, Charles Fletcher, 1895
The Friend of the People: A Tale of the Reign of Terror, Mary Rowsell, 1895
Robespierre: The Story of Victorien Sardou's Play Adapted and Novelized Under His Authority, Ange Galdemar, 1899
The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel, Emmuska Orczy, 1922
Mon ami Robespierre, Henri Béraud (Translator: Slater Brown), 1928 
Jacobin's Daughter, Joanne Williamson, 1956 (Part I) 
Jacobin's Daughter, Joanne Williamson, 1956 (Part II)
The Incorruptible: A Tale of Revolution and Royalty, Helma de Bois, 1965
A Place of Greater Safety, Hilary Mantel, 1992
A Place of Greater Safety (2) 
A Place of Greater Safety (3)
City of Darkness, City of Light; Marge Piercy; 1996
(City of Darkness, City of Light again)
The Ninth Thermidor, M. A. Aldanov, 1926
The Gods Are Thirsty, Tanith Lee, 1996
The Danton Case, Stanislawa Przbyszewska, translated by Boleslaw Taborski in 1989

One last thing: I had to make the font size very small on some of the entries in order to fit everything. I'm sorry for any annoyance/inconvenience that might cause, but it is possible to change the font size.

And as always, it would be interesting to see any comments any of you might have, either here or at the entries themselves. Happy reading!
[identity profile] maelicia.livejournal.com
Wajda’s Danton: a film that some of you must have seen. I believe the annoying voice of the historian must be heard, once again: this film is no sheer amusement, it is politics. And, whenever politics are involved – especially more so with the French Revolution – it demands sufficient information from every point of view in order to participate to the creation of critical sense.

This said, I post my translation of Michel Vovelle’s review of Wajda’s Danton. I prefer to let him speak and to describe the film, considering I am much more insulting and find it repulsive in all aspects – especially since the watching of that movie made me ill for a week. The only way in which I found that movie good is how it did prove Wajda’s mental trauma caused by Polish communism. Nevertheless, I shall stop here. Because Vovelle is more neutral, where I completely fail to be. He also enlightens us greatly with the summary of the historiographical debates around Danton and Robespierre, as well as why the Enragés and Hébertistes could be ignored in Wajda's film.

Also, forgive my translation: it's very likely far from being perfect but, again, I tried to translate it with some sense, while keeping as close as possible to the original text...

In this point of view, the temptation was to return, in spite of ourselves, in spite of the inner fight that can be felt all through the film, to a black and white opposition: on one side Danton, or the Revolution with a human face, on the other Robespierre, or the cold-hearted and dehumanised Revolution. And this is what troubles me when I watch this very beautiful film which will be, for thousands of people, the discovery of the French Revolution. )
[identity profile] toi-marguerite.livejournal.com
In honor of our monthly topic of Saint- Just, I pose the question of how Saint Just should be portrayed in fiction, and what everyone thinks of Saint- Just's representations in fiction.

In the books/movies/animes I've seen:

Cut- just like fictional!Saint just likes heads to be in relationship to bodies. )

Any other books/movies/TV shows/animes? Does anyone have any other opinions on the fictional representations listed here?
[identity profile] bettylabamba.livejournal.com
...I'd thought I'd cheer you all up.

Yeah, none of our Revolutionary Regulars are in it, but you get to see Louis Seize in a chicken costume!

Last week, I watched the movie Start the Revolution Without Me (1970) staring my husband Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland. Bud Yorkin, of Sanford and Son, All in the Family, and Good Times fame, directed it. If you're a fan of Monty Python stuff and Mel Brooks, you'll probably like this movie as well. Slapstick ridiculosity runs rampant throughout, but the humor is often very very subtle. The user comment calling S.T.R.W.M. a "quiet slapstick comedy" on IMDb is right on target. Read the quotes page to see what I mean. Not only that, one of the most awesomest persons ever, Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, The 3rd Man, etc., etc.,) makes a cameo appearance. And the movie was filmed in France! Mlle Coppola should've taken notes on this one. Seriously...

I x-posted this from my own journal with minor changes.
[identity profile] trf-chan.livejournal.com
In the past few days, I've read Vive la Revolution by Mark Steel and Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution by Ruth Scurr. I also watched the movie Danton. Some thoughts on them:

Vive la Revolution )


Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution )


Danton )

Also, random plug that has nothing to do with the French Revolution: Little Miss Sunshine is freaking awesome.
[identity profile] trf-chan.livejournal.com
(In Spanish, Un Lugar de la Seguridad Grande - I have no idea why that amuses me, but somehow it does)

Well, I've finally gotten around to finishing Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety this weekend. Overall, I thought it was quite wonderful, especially compared what is usually offered up in the catagory of French Revolution books - fiction and nonfiction. At least Mantel doesn't think Robespierre was green. ;)

The only thing that irked me was her unecessarily harsh (IMO) treatment of the Duplay family and Philippe Lebas. The whole Babette thing was just completely...O.o;. Saint-Just wasn't too nicely handled either, but that at least had a more understandable basis than with the poor Duplays and Lebas.

That's what irks me about what is written on the FR, honestly. No author seems content to evaluate all personages involved honestly - someone's always got to be The Source of All Evil or That Idiot Who Got in the Way of Everything.

Other than that, though, I thought it was an excellent book. Mantel has stated that she came into it loving Camille and came out of it loving Maxime. I had almost the opposite experience, oddly enough. XD; I still love Maxime, of course, but I'm definitely more interested in Camille now than I was before.

What are everyone else's opinions on the book?

P.S. - For my Speech class (not the team - I decided against doing that the moment I stepped foot in the class), we have to write a speech describing a certain setting. I've decided on revolutionary Paris. We need to hit up at least ten locations. I've already got The Jacobins, the National Convention, Place de la Revolution, Palais Royal, Tuileries, and the Bastille. Does anyone have any other suggestions of places that I should use? Please note that I'd like places that you can find pictures of as they looked at the time (or a description) or that have remained mostly unchanged. Thanks. :)


Jul. 12th, 2006 01:29 pm
[identity profile] trf-chan.livejournal.com
So, I'm going to be joining the school Speech team this year, and one of the categories I'll be in is Entertainment. Basically, you present a bunch of misinformation on whatever subject it is that your speech is about. I decided to do mine on Robespierre. 8D

I've been writing up a list of the ridiculous things people believed about him or put about after his death (green skin, beheading little birdies, etc.) If anyone here has heard anything else that's particularly juicy, I would love to hear it.

On another note, I'm reading Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety right now. Awesomeness. I'm not much a fan of the prose itself, but overall, I like it a lot thus far. I also read Piercy's City of Darkness, City of Light not long ago. It was all right, but nothing special. I got a bit confused several times when reading. She...did not seem to like Lucile Desmoulins much. Or Charlotte Robespierre (mind, it seems Charlotte really was rather a...bitch, let's say, but every time I read a scene with her in that book, I was like, "Christ, did she run over your puppy or something? What do you have against this woman?!" For some reason, even though she superficially acts quite the same in Mantel's book, it seems much more...I dunno, probable, natural, something. All I can get out of Piercy's is that Charlotte brutally axe murdered her in a previous incarnation [probably for ogling Maxime] and she's trying to get revenge. XD;).

Ooh, um, wow. That's a longish paragraph.


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