montagnarde1793: (maximebust)

Margerit's series on the Revolution gets so much right, especially through the trial and execution of the Dantonistes - and even after that, in places. So the portrayal of pretty much everything involving Robespierre from that point on is extremely disappointing, to say the least. I finally finished the third book, which is the last one that takes place during the Revolution proper. I had thought, several chapters back, that as Margerit had done elsewhere, he was simply going to have his protagonist be mistaken on Robespierre's account. But apparently not.

And thus the last phrase this protagonist - Claude Mounier-Dupré - pronounces on his subject, is one of the most unfair and unjustified opinions I've heard on the subject (even the Thermidorians didn't actually believe this kind of thing, you'll notice):

"Vois-tu, dit-il, c'est son esprit obstinément et despotiquement religieux, c'est son caractère de prêtre manqué qui ont tué Maximilien. C'est ce caractère qui lui a fait détester des hommes comme Tallien, Barras, Fouché, Fréron, Collot, Billaud et leurs pareils. C'est son intolérance de prêtre sûr de son Dieu, c'est son acharnement de Grand Inquisiteur à remplacer les bûchers par la guillotine qui l'ont fait haïr et nous ont contraints à l'abattre. Il est mort parce que tout en désirant, comme certains entre nous, rénover la condition des hommes, établir l'égalité, la fraternité, la justice, il n'avait aucun sentiment de la liberté, il a voulu perpétuer l'antique esclavage des âmes. La Révolution ne pouvait s'achever avec lui. Mais, hélas, je crains qu'elle ne s'achève pas sans lui."

In translation: "You see," he said, "it's his obstinately and despotically religious spirit [or mind], it's his character of a priest manqué that killed Maximilien. It is this character that made men like Tallien, Barras, Fouché, Fréron, Collot, Billaud, and those like them, detest him. It's his priest-sure-of-his-God's intolerance, his Grand Inquisitor's determination to replace the stake by the guillotine that made him hated and forced us to bring him down. He died because, while he desired, like some of us, the renewal of the condition of men, the establishment of equality, fraternity, justice, he had no sentiment of liberty; he wanted to perpetuate the old enslavement of souls. The Revolution could not be completed with him. But, alas, I fear that it will not be completed without him."

The only full sentence that's accurate in all of that is the last one.

But I just don't know what to think; for the vast majority of the series Margerit seemed so reasonable where Robespierre was concerned - as he did in his diary from when he was writing the books, which I read in his entirety - and yet, in the last third of the third book, he has all his sympathetic characters express such sentiments as I quote above. I just don't understand... It's true he was incredibily rushed to finish this book and was researching as he went along (at a rather manic pace, to get the book done in time); he also confessed to trusting memoirists much more than historians, which accounts for many of the odd accounts throughout the books... Could it be he simply placed too much trust in Thermidorian accounts?


I have a headache.

(no subject)

Thursday, 20 March 2008 20:54
montagnarde1793: (maximebust)

It seems it's been a while since I last posted... Not too much interesting has happened since then, unfortunately: mostly I had a lot of work to do. As always, I am a terrible judge of how I will do on tests, as I thought I did fairly well in Statistics but got a 73 (teh fail) and I was sure I made a horrible mess of the Art History test, but I still scraped by with a 91. Go figure. >__<

In other, slightly more interesting news, I am entirely engrossed in Margerit's series of novels on the Revolution (which I've mentionned here before). If they weren't thousands of pages all together I would definitely translate them, because they're brilliant and it's sad that no one has translated them into English before, because they wipe the floor with anything available in this sorry mother tongue of mine. (And I say this despite the fact that, while remaining sympathetic toward Maxime, they don't really qualify as robespierriste. Which, I know, is very strange coming from me, but you'd just have to read them to see what I mean--obviously, no one should just take my word, or anyone else's, on anything.)

Also on the front of novels, a new one on the Revolution has just come out, which I have now, but which I have not yet gotten around to reading, beyond skimming a few of the parts in which Maxime features. It's called Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors. I feel like, as far as pre-reading appreciations of said novel goes, I have to make a bit of a list of pros and cons; at this point the former seem to be winning out, but I'll only be able to say for certain once I've actually read the book. For it so far, the author is originally French, the protagonist's love interest is Coffinhal, who is sympathetically portrayed, and, perhaps because of this, from what I can tell, Maxime is as well (meanwhile, Antoinette is, according to interviews anyway, portrayed decidedly negatively--though any portrayal that doesn't make her out to be a saint might tend to be viewed that way by (too!) many interviews. On the other hand, the protagonist is a ci-devant who appears to be emprisoned during the Terror, which never bodes well. The sources are a mixed bag, but the author's used and read at least some worthy historians--and as a bonus, she seems to be able to tell a reactionary when she sees one....
...But I'll tell you what I think of it when I've actually read it. >___>

In what little spare time I've had left, I managed to read a rather banal article on what the media are fond to referring to as "costume dramas" (personally, I can't stand the term). Said article commented on the new mini-series on John Adams, remarking that (I'm paraphrasing here): "it's very good, but democracy was not fashionable." My first reaction to this was, understandably, "you're looking at the wrong 'revolution'"... Then of course, I realized they had just referred to Adams as a democrat, which worried me considerably. (This is, incidentally, why I avoid the American press, generally: this is not a aberration, but a rather typical example of the level of knowledge journalists seem to have about the subjects on which they are writing.)
...I did manage to see the first two episodes of said mini-series--all right, so I had a bit more time than I admitted to, though perhaps I should have spent it studying -__-;;--and, much as I hate to admit it, for what it is, it's not bad (so far, anyway; all bets are off once it gets to the 1790s). It's major defect is, unfortunately, an inevitable one: it's told from Adam's point of view. If you do not like Adams, as I most decidedly do not, you might find it's approach irritating, to say the least. But then, you might also think the whole concept of devoting nine hours of air time to John Adams irritating in the first place. But I digress. Essentially, aside from its portraying everyone to the left (I know it's an anachronism, but deal with it) of Adams as demagogic--which, as I've said, is an inevitable result of making a series from Adams' point of view--what I've seen of it is not half bad. I just wish that someone would accord the same treatment to Maxime. *sighs*

Also, this RPG (not the subject matter so much as the portrayal, obviously) frightens me. Exceedingly. Thoughts?

...And I'm afraid the next installment of That Book About Le Bas will have to wait unitl next time (Please do note the last one I posted, by the way--if no one comments it's difficult not to assume no one read it. >__>)

(no subject)

Tuesday, 22 August 2006 22:44
montagnarde1793: (colored bust)
...From the fictional character, Claude Mounier from Robert Margerit's La Revolution. The character is speaking to Danton early in 1794; I think he's right:

"Non, je ne t’accuse pas, je constate seulement, de plus en plus, ce que j’ai toujours soupçonné : tu n’es pas un vrai républicain. Tu es, au fond, comme Mirabeau, comme ton ennemi La Fayette, comme Barnave, Lameth, comme Lanjuinais, comme ton ami Dumouriez. Tu as consenti à la république parce que tu n’as pu faire autrement, quand il ne t’est resté aucun espoir orléaniste. Tu as beau siégé sur la Montagne, tu es un homme du Marais. Si nous te laissions aller ton train, nous aurions bientôt un régime aristocratique sous l’étiquette républicaine, un régime ou l’argent, à coup sur, serait roi, avec l’intrigue pour reine et l’agiotage comme Premier ministre."

My (rough) translation:
"No, I’m not accusing you; I just observe more and more what I’ve always suspected: you are not a true republican. You are, at heart, like Mirabeau, like your enemy La Fayette, like Barnave, Lameth, like Lanjuinais, like your friend Dumouriez. You consented to the republic because you could not do otherwise, when no Orléaniste hope remained to you. Though you have sat with the Montagne you are a man of the Marais. If we let you follow your course, we would soon have an aristocratic regime with republican manners, a regime where money assuredly would be king, with intrigue for queen and peculation as Prime Minister."

From what I've read of it, I think I like this series. The character who speaks the above lines, and probably also the author, seem to like Maxime except for one thing: they reproach him for the FdlES.....And despite Margerit's brilliant insights into just about everything, I think he's missed the point here and isn't looking at it in context. 
...I could go on, explain myself better, but it's getting late and I still have reading to do. I'll try to post with some art soon.
montagnarde1793: (Je voudrais te dire...)

It's funny how that can happen when you haven't even spoken to a person.

But in 2nd period Film Lit, when everyone shared their favorite movies, some guy who had gone to Switzerland over the summer--and whose name I have conveniently blocked out--said that Marie-Antoinette was his favorite film. 

So, opinions: is he willfully counterrevolutionary or does he just have bad taste?

...Or both. *shudders*

In other first day of school news, I didn't get Creative Writing, hence why I'm stuck in Film Lit in the first place, but my other classes shouldn't be too terrible. (I hope!)

...On a completely unrelated note, I'm going to see Massenet's Manon next month, and am quite happy about that.....And I got a new series on the Revolution--conveniently called La Révolution--by Robert Margerit. Reports on the accuracy and general goodness will be forthcoming. As will much art, as soon as I can hook up my scanner.

I promise it won't be as long until my next post as it was between this one and the last...I was just having internet issues before.


montagnarde1793: (Default)

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