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Has anyone thought about moving / duplicating this community to be a Facebook group? I know some people have said this community has been lacking in activity (I agree), while it seems to me Facebook groups are thriving. We can make it a "closed group" so membership is moderated. There are a lot more people on FB, obviously, and it also makes it easier to share links to interesting articles, events etc. that we might come across. Thoughts?
[identity profile]
So, I was not very much looking forward to reading this essay for my seminar today, but then I saw the first line and was hooked, obviously :)

...the rest of the essay has nothing to do with Saint-Just (or the French Revolution), sadly. Boo.
[identity profile]
Did anyone else have the opportunity to visit this exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York? I went back in early December and had planned to write a review for this community, but then I found myself struggling to convey my impressions. Perhaps because I don't have a very extensive background in art history and lack the vocabulary. I also think I had hoped to see the pieces better situated in their historical context; the exhibition seemed (in my opinion) to hinge more on their importance to an aesthetic movement rather their social or political relevance.

Still, it was very interesting and I'm glad I went. If anyone else visited, I would be interested to hear your reactions.
[identity profile]
I have been interested in the french revolution for quite a while, and although I have read several books and biographies about some of the main people of it, I still haven't managed to find a good one of Saint-Just. Could you please recommend me one that is en english/spanish? (my french is not good enough to read a book)
[identity profile]
City of Darkness, City of Light
Marge Piercy

(Beware the spoilers!)

Review )
[identity profile]
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], 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

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).
[identity profile]
I have been extremely negligent in not posting this earlier, but as one of the founding members of the Association pour un musée Robespierre à Arras (AMRA), I'd like to invite you all to sign our petition in favor of turning the house Robespierre lived in from 1787 until his departure for Versailles as deputy to the Estates-General in 1789 into a museum dedicated to teaching the public about Robespierre and the Revolution. (For an idea of what this project could turn out to be, check out Saint-Just's house in Blérancourt.)

You might be wondering about the status of the house and why it is not yet a museum, at least not one devoted to Robespierre and the Revolution. At the bicentennial of the Revolution, the city of Arras acquired the property for that purpose, but it then entrusted its restoration to the "Compagnons du devoir" in exchange for the use of the building for their own museum, dedicated to the history of guild/trade organizations and with only a tiny space devoted to Robespierre's youth in Arras. While the AMRA definitely considers that the Compagnons deserve to have their own museum, there are potentially other spaces that would suit them equally well, while, for obvious reasons, Robespierre's house is really the most appropriate place to have a museum regarding him and his role in the Revolution. You can read more about the history of the house here.

Because it would really be nice to have some kind of permanent space for the education of the public regarding Robespierre and the Revolution in his city of origin, I encourage you all to sign the petition. You don't have to live in France or be a French citizen to sign. Please help us get to our minimum goal of 5,000 signatures.

If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them.
[identity profile]
Hello all,

I was doing some work in a local coffee shop earlier this afternoon, where I met another scholar who struck up a conversation with me. When he learned of my research interests in literary representations of the Revolution, he referred me to this passage in Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee of which I was unaware, having never read the book:

There were two " Reigns of Terror," if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the " horrors " of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with life-long death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror—that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.

Interesting. I don’t know much about Twain (or American literature in general), but I also found this quote:

When I finished Carlyle's French Revolution in 1871, I was a Girondin; every time I have read it since, I have read it differently – being influenced and changed, little by little, by life and environment ... and now I lay the book down once more, and recognize that I am a Sansculotte! – And not a pale, characterless Sansculotte, but a Marat.

Perhaps you guys are already familiar with this (the basic idea expressed by Twain is obviously nothing new), but I thought it was cool and wanted to share.
[identity profile]
 The Penny Dreadfuls Present: Revolution

“It is recorded that Robespierre visited Marie-Therese at one point in the tower but there is no historical record of that conversation. This play is that conversation.”

Hi Everyone!
I’ve been reading your blog posts for nearly a year, but never join the debate because of my English. Yesterday, I found a BBC radio play on youtube which is really fun. It is a conversation between Robespierre (Richard E Grant) and Marie Therese (Sally Hawkins). Did anyone here listen to this play?

Ps.Sorry for my terrible English!

The French Revolution was one of the most far-reaching social and political upheavals in modern history spanning 10 years and involving the execution of the King, collapse of monarchy and slaughter of thousands at the guillotine. Starring Richard E Grant and Sally Hawkins, comedy trio The Penny Dreadfuls will attempt to tell the epic story of the Revolution in one hour, with jokes.
The play's two main characters are Maximilien Robespierre the dictatorial architect of the Reign of Terror, who sent thousands to their death and Marie-Therese, the 16 year old daughter of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.
Marie-Therese was incarcerated for three years by the revolutionaries. When she was locked up her father, mother, aunt and little brother were also with her. After the execution of her father the rest of the family were moved to another part of the tower and Marie-Therese was kept in solitary confinement. It is recorded that Robespierre visited Marie-Therese at one point in the tower but there is no historical record of that conversation. This play is that conversation.
Revolution is written by comedy trio The Penny Dreadfuls, Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck, all successful in their own rights as solo performers and all taking their own shows to Edinburgh this year. Last year they wrote an Afternoon Play for Radio about Guy Fawkes and they have previously had two series of The Brothers Faversham broadcast on Radio 7.
Richard E Grant - Robespierre,
Sally Hawkins - Therese
David Reed, Humphrey Ker, Thom Tuck and Margaret Cabourn-Smith will play all other roles in the show.
Producer - Julia McKenzie.

[identity profile]

This is silly, but I wanted to introduce you all to the little kitten I adopted two weeks ago, Lucile Desmoulins (the second)! She's very sweet and affectionate, playful and a bit rowdy, and does her namesake proud, I think :)

[identity profile]
Bonjour, citoyens:

I am new on this community (well, not so new >.>), but I haven't introduce myself. I'm very shy and my English has to get better, and I don't have enough knowledge to make a good debate.
Whatever, I would be very grateful if someone help me with this little question I have: How was the situation in the Comédie-Française in 1794-1795?

My (mediocre) investigation )

Thanks! And happy belated birthday, Marat...
[identity profile]
Dear all,

I’m a Ph.D. student in English literature at an American university. As part of my work for next year (my third year), I need to pass a comprehensive exam in order to move on to the dissertation stage. My field of study is British literature and culture circa 1789-1914 (otherwise known as the long 19th century), and I’m incredibly interested in British responses to the French Revolution. For my exam, I chose two periods (18th and 19th-century British literature). The lists are quite general, featuring canonical works; however, I can tailor them to fit my personal research interests, with an eye to the dissertation topic...

To this end, one of my advisors suggested that I create a bibliography of British literature from the 18th and 19th centuries that relate to the French Revolution, which I would add to my reading list for the exam. I’ve put together a short list based on what I’m aware is out there, but I would appreciate the input of this community. If you can, please recommend any British literature (poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, etc.) from the long 19th century in Britain on the subject of the Revolution.

Again, any suggestions for additions would be appreciated. My central interest is the 1789 Revolution, but works on the subject of the Napoleonic wars or 19th c. revolutions would be relevant as well.

Here's what I have so far. )
[identity profile]
Please check out this site: and this facebook page: And if you can, please make a donation!

The SER and the French National Archives have 15 days to raise close to a million euros to prevent previously unknown documents by LeBas and Robespierre from being auctioned off to the highest bidder and possibly taken out of the country! These documents belong to the French nation, and should end up in the national archives in Paris, where historians can use them for the invaluable insight they give into the revolution. Please help save Robespierre's legacy!

(if you don't read French, Google Chrome's translation module works great on both sites)
[identity profile]
Recently, I was revisiting a couple of political works that are relevant to libertarianism (for those of you unfamiliar with the term, it's basically a political ideology that emphasizes maximum personal freedom and minimal government), and I came across this political criticism of the French Revolution revolutionaries from Frederic Bastiat, one of the most influential figures in modern libertarianism and Austrian economics. I personally thought it was quite refreshing compared to the usual kind of criticism of the French Revolution we often hear from Marie Antoinette fangirls.
[identity profile]
(hopefully this is allowed, if not, mods delete away!)

Medium: General/real life/history
Subject: The French Revolution
Title: Heads Will Roll
Warnings: None, other than general silliness.
Notes: It was Robespierre's birthday yesterday and this happened. Er.


even in our darkest hour never thought that it would get this bad
[identity profile]

The members of the National Convention
Places of Abode
“Commissaires aux archives”
Links : book

Maximilien Robespierre’s address was “rue des Cordeliers , passage du Commerce ” .

Augustin Robespierre’s address was “rue Saint-Honoré, No. 366 ” .

Maybe, These things found in the rue Saint-Honoré were not Maximilien’s ?
Maybe, Maximilien Robespierre was not familiar with the Duplays? Augustin was familiar with the Duplays?


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